It's finally here.
Dogwood Stable's Palace Malice, the 2013 Aiken Trained Horse of the Year, is scheduled to make his 4-year-old debut in Saturday's 73rd running of the 1 mile, $250,000, Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap. Palace Malice was trained in Aiken by Brad Stauffer.
The multiple graded stakes millionaire is the highweight in the eight horse field and will carry 119 pounds. Jockey John Velazquez will be in the irons on Saturday. The son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin will break from the extreme outside post drawing the eight hole. Six-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher trains Palace Malice.
The race's length may come up a bit short for the millionaire, but Dogwood Stable president W. Cothran Campbell believes Palace Malice's ability and class will make him a formidable entry in the field of eight horses.
“He's coming off a four-month layoff, going against a horse that just ran a brilliant seven furlongs and that's Falling Sky,” said Campbell. “Maybe that's a tough assignment, but he's tough.”
The horse worked Sunday at Palm Meadows Training Center, breezing a half-mile in 48.90.
“It sure was good,” said Campbell. “He continued to do his usual enthusiastic work. He's ready to go now.”
The Gulfstream Park Handicap is the race that's going to get Palace Malice ready for his 4-year-old campaign, said Campbell.
“Everything is falling into place,” said Campbell. “His preparation couldn't be any smoother or promising. We've always said, 'He's probably a horse that's going to get better as he gets older.' If he does, he'll be one hell of a horse. We'll start finding that out pretty soon.”