Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell was pleased with Palace Malice’s last start. The 3-year-old son of two-time Horse-of-the-Year Curlin placed second in a 7-furlong allowance race over an off track at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 19. Palace Malice, trained in Aiken by Legacy Stable’s Brad Stauffer and Ron Stevens, was beaten by 2¼-lengths in his sophomore campaign debut.

“Considering who he is, nothing but a win is going to make for a good day,” said Campbell of Palace Malice’s finish behind Majestic Hussar. “It was his first out in six months, and he was against a horse who is a top sprinter on a sloppy racetrack the winner loves. That horse took the lead, and we simply couldn’t quicken enough to get to him. It was an excellent race.”

The bay colt was coming off a 5½-month layoff, having broken his maiden impressively, scoring by 3½-lengths in a 6½-furlong race at Saratoga on Aug. 4. Palace Malice is being pointed toward either the 11/16-mile $400,000 Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 23 at Gulfstream Park or the 11/16-mile $300,000 Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds on the same date. Palace Malice seemed to benefit from the Jan. 19 outing.

“This was a wonderful tightener for his next race,” said Campbell. “There’s a longer stretch in New Orleans (at the Fair Grounds), and they don’t have to run into the first turn quite like they have to at Gulfstream, which is not ideal if you have an outside post. In this past race he galloped past the winner, just inhaled him after he passed the wire. Our horse was just getting cranked up. We’re very optimistic about him.”

The Todd Pletcher charge is out of the stakes winning Royal Anthem mare Palace Rumor, and was purchased by Dogwood Stable at the 2012 Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale from the consignment of Niall Brennan for $200,000. Palace Malice worked well coming into the race and will breeze this Sunday, said Campbell.

“He’s full of himself, has a lot of energy, and has been working with Shanghai Bobby,” said Campbell. “They’re workmates, and have been working heads up, with us galloping past Shanghai Bobby to the finish, I’m told. As the old saying goes, ‘We would not trade places with anybody.’”