An innovative concept that was more than three months in the making is now a reality.
In early January, Dogwood Stable's President Cot Campbell approached the William Hill Agency of Nevada about accepting a $5,000 wager on Palace Malice being named the 2014 Horse of the Year.
On April 22, Campbell's idea became a reality as The State of Nevada Gaming Control Board approved Campbell's idea for a 2014 Horse of the Year wager. They began accepting wagers on April 25.
“The State of Nevada Gaming Control Board approved the 2014 Horse of the Year wager for all licensed books in the state,” said Campbell, in a phone interview on Friday. “It's the first ever Eclipse Awards Horse of the Year future bet odds.”
There were a number of variables that played a significant role in Campbell's decision to entertain making the wager on the bay colt, including his outstanding sophomore campaign and the way that he had trained in Aiken.
“I showed a lot of confidence in Palace Malice by conceiving the idea, approached the William Hill Agency about making the bet, and found out it was illegal in Las Vegas because it was based on a ballot,” said Campbell, who found out about the board's approval earlier this month in a letter from the William Hill bookmaking organization CEO Joe Asher. “I was in line to get several points better from the William Hill Agency, and bet $5,000 at odds of 12/1.”
Palace Malice's current odds are 8/1. Palace Malice has scored victories in his first two starts in 2014, with wins in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap and Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap. The 4-year-old colt's next start will be in the Grade 3 Westchester Handicap on May 11 at Belmont Park.
“He's doing fine,” said Campbell. “His trainer (Todd Pletcher) said, ‘He's never had a horse train any better.'”
Ben Baugh covers the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard.