Palace Malice displayed his class and character in a victory Sunday afternoon in the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes.


It was the third consecutive stakes victory in as many starts in 2014 for the Dogwood Stable colt, as the multiple graded stakes winning millionaire dominated a short field in the 1 mile, $150,000 race at Belmont Park. Palace Malice won by 9¾-lengths, covering the distance in 1:35.53.


Palace Malice’s performance, in a race where he was sent off as the 1-9 favorite, has earned him a trip to the $1,250,000, Grade 1 Metropolitan Mile Handicap at Belmont Park on June 7. The bay colt increased his lifetime earnings to $1,961,135.


“I thought he would win big,” said Cot Campbell, Dogwood Stable president. “It was nerve wracking leading up to the race. You never know. The lead pony might step on him. He may get hurt in the gate. You’re sitting on pins and needles. He laid in behind the top two at the start, but when Johnny (Velazquez, Palace Malice’s jockey) pushed the button and asked the question, he got the answer. He was most impressive, and figured to be. But figured to be and actually being are two different things.”


Palace Malice scored victories earlier this year in the Gulfstream Park and New Orleans Handicaps, with the Westchester Stakes being his third added money victory during his 4-year-old campaign.


“He’s very professional and understands racing,” said Campbell, who wished he could have attended the race, but took great pleasure in watching it on television. “He knows what it’s all about. This is what Thoroughbred racing is all about. It’s looking for horses with class and character. God knows he wrote the book on it. Class and character. That’s his middle name.”


Palace Malice was trained in Aiken by Brad Stauffer. He’s currently trained at the racetrack by Todd Pletcher.


Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004.


AT A GLANCE


Palace Malice’s starts as a 4 year old


Gulfstream Park Handicap

When: March 8


Where: Gulfstream Park; Hallandale Beach, Fla.


Distance: 1 mile


Grade: 2


Purse: $250,000


Result: First place


New Orleans Handicap

When: March 29


Where: Fair Grounds; New Orleans


Distance: 11/8 mile


Grade: 2


Purse: $400,000


Result: First place


Westchester Stakes

When: Sunday


Where: Belmont Park; Elmont, N.Y.


Distance: 1 mile


Grade: 3


Purse: $150,000


Result: First place


Career Totals

Starts: 15


Wins: Six*


Seconds: Four


Thirds: One


Lifetime earnings: $1,961,135