Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice will return to racing on Saturday. The Dogwood Stable champion will run at Saratoga Race Course in the $600,000, Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes.
The 11/8-mile race will serve as a prep for the Mid-Summer Derby – the $1,000,000, Travers Stakes. That 1¼-mile, Grade 1 race will also be run in Saratoga and will be held on Aug. 24.
Palace Malice was trained in Aiken by Legacy Stable’s Brad Stauffer. On Sunday, the bay colt had his fifth published work since winning the Belmont Stakes. He breezed a half mile in 49.77 over the Oklahoma Training Track.
The Jim Dandy will be Palace Malice’s first race in seven weeks. Palace Malice drew post position No. 5 for the Jim Dandy and is carrying 123 pounds, making him the highweight in the field of 10 horses. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who was in the irons for the Belmont Stakes victory, will get the return call on Saturday.
Palace Malice is no stranger to Saratoga, breaking his maiden last August as a juvenile at the racetrack that’s celebrating its 150th anniversary. The Todd Pletcher charge seems more than up to the challenge based on his works in recent weeks. The son of the two-time Horse of the Year Curlin has two races at the Jim Dandy’s distance, including a solid second-place finish in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes over the Polytrack Elite surface on April 13 at Keeneland.
The NBC Sports Group’s 2013 Summer at Saratoga includes a live broadcast on Saturday. It will begin at 5 p.m. with coverage of the Grade 1 Diana Stakes followed by the Jim Dandy on the NBC Sports Network.
Palace Malice isn’t the only member of Aiken’s thoroughbred racing community receiving media coverage. Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell is the featured guest this week on ESPN’s Inside the Gates Podcast.
Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004.