11/28/2013 4:54PM

Aqueduct: Palace rallies to win Fall Highweight Handicap

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Joe Labozzetta/NYRA
Palace, under Cornelio Velasquez, wins the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – City Zip may go down as the best horse Linda Rice will ever train. That’s why it was so gratifying to her when one of his sons – who Rice took a chance on claiming 13 months ago – won Thursday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct.

Palace, whom Rice took in October 2012 for $20,000, rallied past Grade 1 winners Strapping Groom and The Lumber Guy in the final furlong of Aqueduct’s stretch to win the Fall Highweight by 1 1/2 lengths. Strapping Groom, the Forego winner, held second by a half-length over The Lumber Guy, the 2012 Vosburgh winner. Caixa Eletronica, last year’s Fall Highweight winner, was fourth and was followed in the order of finish by Sage Valley, the 2-1 favorite, Saturday’s Charm, B Shanny, and Jake N Elwood.

The win was the eighth from 14 career starts for Palace and seventh from 10 starts since Rice claimed him on behalf of owner Antonio Miuccio for $20,000 off of Bill Mott and WinStar Farm. Palace entered the Fall Highweight off a pair of stakes victories in races restricted to New York-breds. Rice said the fact Palace was by City Zip – with whom Rice won eight stakes, including the Grade 1 Hopeful in 2000 – played a role in her claiming him.

“It is quite gratifying and it’s pretty exciting, and the fact he’s a son of City Zip who was such a tremendous racehorse makes it even really cool for me,” Rice said following the race.

Under Cornelio Velasquez, Palace raced in fifth position down the backstretch, while Jake N Elwood set fractions of 22.35 seconds for the quarter and 45.51 for the half-mile while being chased by Strapping Groom and The Lumber Guy.

Turning into the stretch, Velasquez guided Palace to the outside and, under 129 pounds, Palace gradually persevered by Strapping Groom, the 135-pound highweight, and The Lumber Guy, under 133 pounds, to get the victory.

“He broke good, I stayed in my position, I followed” Strapping Groom, Velasquez said. “At the top of the stretch, I put him in the clear and I had a lot of horse.”

Palace covered six furlongs in 1:09.82 over a main track labeled good and returned $7.40.

Rice said Palace, who had shown speed earlier in his career, now relishes being a come-from-behind sprinter.

“Now that we figured that out, he’s doing great,” she said.

Though Strapping Groom lost his third straight race since winning the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga, trainer David Jacobson was pleased with the performance.

“He’s on the improve again; I was getting a little worried about him because his last couple of races were a little disappointing,” Jacobson said. “This is a great race. They were right on him.”

Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Nice win by Palace....he looked like the improving horse and proved best..as for CAIXA electronica it would be nice if he got a chance at stud. We need to breed this type of horse. His sire ARROMANCHES started 78 times and won 31 was 2nd 15 and 3rd 9 he was one the toughest handicap horses on the ny circut winning until age 9.he got very limited opportunities at stud in indiana and still became a good sire.CAIXA is his best son and only hope as a sire for the ARROMANCHES line with 68 starts 23 wins 9 (2nd) and 11 (3rds) CAIXA ELECTRONICA deserves a chance .especially with his outcross pedigree completely free of MR PROSPECTOR and with no NORTHERN DANCER going back 5 generations. His grand sire on the dam side was SKIP AWAY 38 starts 18 wins 10 (2nds) 6 (3rds) another tough classy durable animal.mr Repole has the means to ensure this horse gets a career at stud and at this stage he seems past his best.so running him in the winter on new yorks frozen tracks carrying a ton of weight makes little sense. he has already proved himself and at 8 deserves a shot at stud.
david_juffet More than 1 year ago
Skip Away was more then durable and classy,he was a champion.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Great Historical race Congrats to Palace and connection on a great claim. The runner up and third place horses ran credible. The lumber guy is back in good form just needs a field he can handle. Strapping Groom can run with the best of them when FRESH and FIRES. Overall and deep/quality field will hear from these in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good for Linda Rice for giving this son of City Zip a chance! She may not have been so inclined to claim him for $20k had she not thought so highly of his daddy. This is one of those feel good stories: Horse comes from lower-level claiming ranks, gets trainer who makes effort to figure him out and he excels. Let's see, he's won $500,000 now? And just beat Grade 1 winners? You just never know...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So much for the all important 'weight factor' slowing horses down. Contrary to the oft voiced complaints by skittish trainers who refuse to run when racing secretaries put a few pounds more wieght on deserving horses, weight remains the most overweighted handicapping factor in the modern racing game. Voluminous statistical studies have proven this to be so. . .At the bottom line, weight differentials, weight concessions and a handful of pounds on or off, only rarely have a significant influence on the outcome of races races. in America. Steve Davidowitz
Steve More than 1 year ago
You do realize he was getting 6 pounds from the runner up right?
david_juffet More than 1 year ago
Guess will see what happens today with high weights game on dude and will take charge.spotting that kind of weight to Easter gift and bourbon courage should be interesting. We shall see.
Rosemarie Cola More than 1 year ago
Love City Zip, hope Palace goes on to be a really good one.