There's a Japanese proverb that says fall seven times and stand up eight.
Dogwood Stable is still chasing its elusive first Kentucky Derby victory, but the Aiken-based Thoroughbred racing stable will have its eighth starter going postward next Saturday in the 139th edition of the Run for the Roses.
Palace Malice breezed a half-mile Saturday morning in 47.20, working in company with Arkansas Derby winner Overanalyze, two of the five Derby entries conditioned by five-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher.
The multiple graded stakes placed colt was ridden over the surface at Churchill Downs by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who has the riding assignment on Palace Malice in the Derby.
“He did it easy,” said W. Cothran Campbell, Dogwood Stable president, in a phone interview on Saturday. “Mike said he couldn't pull him up. He jogged back to the barn and couldn't hold him. He was full of energy. He may not win the Derby, but he's damn sure ready to run, and I love the way he's coming into it.”
Palace Malice, whose pedigree suggests he should have no problem getting the 1 ¼-mile distance, seems to possess a number of attributes one would want in a racehorse. The bay colt has demonstrated athleticism, good energy while training, and has showcased his talent in his previous starts. The colt will be celebrating his third birthday, two days before the Kentucky Derby, having been foaled on May 2, 2010. When Campbell first saw Palace Malice at the Keeneland 2012 April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, he was impressed with how easily the horse worked an eighth-of-a-mile, breezing in 10.20 seconds.
“He's not the kind of horse who's a nifty speed ball,” said Campbell. “The rider wasn't whipping along. He's a big rangy colt. I loved the way he looked, and I was surprised to get him for $200,000. He's not a flashy colt, but he's a big, handsome, solid, bay colt.”
Dogwood Stable is no stranger to the first jewel of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, having finished second with Summer Squall in 1990; third in 2000 with Impeachment; and fourth with Limehouse in 2004. In fact, it was Summer Squall who gave Dogwood Stable its first Classic victory, winning the Preakness in 1990.
“I probably have more Derbies behind me then I have in front of me,” said Campbell.
Palace Malice is a different type of runner than Summer Squall, said Campbell.
“Summer Squall had a lot of fire,” said Campbell. “He was a tougher horse to handle, and more spirited. Summer Squall was a lighter horse, who could sprint, had two or three moves, and was able to shift gears. Palace Malice is workman-like. He's very confident. When he makes his move, he wants to keep going. However, like Summer Squall, Palace Malice does what he's asked to do.”