He's a celebrated athlete that won one of Thoroughbred racing's most important races.
Dogwood Stable's Palace Malice returned to Aiken Friday. The winner of the 145th Belmont Stakes is settling into his new surroundings at Legacy Stable, and will once again set foot on the Aiken Training Track on Tuesday, said W. Cothran Campbell, Dogwood Stable president.
The Grade 1 winning millionaire's routine physical at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. was seamless, said Campbell. Palace Malice finished his sophomore year in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
“He's had a lot of action,” said Campbell. “They thought he was completely sound, but it was the intelligent thing to do at the end of the campaign, to give him a thorough, exhaustive physical, and that he got and passed with flying colors.”
Palace Malice will train Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8:30 each morning, and will graze at 1:30 p.m. The horse will leave Aiken on Jan. 8, and will return to Todd Pletcher's barn at Palm Meadows in Boynton Beach, Fla., in preparation for the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds on March 29, 2014, said Campbell.
“That will give him nine weeks to get ready for the race,” said Campbell, who was born in the Crescent City. “I'd like to go to New Orleans. It's big money and he has some fans there.”
The other option was the Grade 1 Donn Handicap, but the race at Gulfstream Park is in February, and by giving him more time, he should be poised to start his 4-year-old campaign in good order at the Fair Grounds, said Campbell.
“It's just a logical place to start him,” said Campbell. “The New Orleans race is just right.”
The colt continues to develop, improving with age, and there's no reason to think that 2014 won't be another banner year, said Campbell.
“His daddy was good as a 4-year-old,” said Campbell. “Everything points to that fact (that he should enjoy a successful 4-year-old campaign). He'll have his fourth birthday on May 2. He'll be a better horse as he matures. He's a pleasure to be around, and I appreciate having a good horse like him.”
Campbell and Palace Malice's trainer, Todd Pletcher, sold the colt's half-sister during the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale's third session. Lady June Bug, a 4-year-old filly, was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, and was purchased by WinStar Farm LLC.
“Todd and I bought his half-sister for $25,000, and sold her for $260,000,” said Campbell. “It's little ripples from his accomplishment.”
Stakes winner Big Screen and stakes placed Miss Frost have returned to Aiken, and Carolinian will be back later this month, said Campbell.
“We'll have a good many in this winter,” said Campbell. “We're going to get them ready for a good spring in the east.”