09/21/2013 11:53AM

Belmont Park: Pletcher works seven graded winners, including a sharp Palace Malice

Tom Keyser
Palace Malice works a half-mile under Annie Finney at Belmont Park on Saturday.

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ELMONT, N.Y. – His 3-year-old campaign started in January and has included stops at six tracks in four states. It certainly doesn’t appear that schedule has taken a toll on Palace Malice.

Palace Malice, the Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy winner, showed Saturday that he continues to thrive, working four furlongs in 48.43 seconds over the Belmont training track but continuing to gallop out seven furlongs in 1:28.97 in preparation for a start in next Saturday’s $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup here.

Palace Malice was one of seven graded stakes winners – six of them Grade 1 winners – trainer Todd Pletcher worked over the training track at Belmont on Saturday morning, one day earlier than scheduled due to forecasted rains Saturday night and Sunday morning. Coincidentally, a light shower fell as Palace Malice went through his work, but nothing to alter the condition of the fast track.

Whitney winner Cross Traffic and Donn Handicap winner Graydar worked five furlongs together in 1:00.52 in preparation for the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Grade 2 Kelso, respectively. Princess of Sylmar, a three-time Grade 1 winner, and Authenticity, a Grade 2 winner, worked four furlongs together in 48.50. Princess of Sylmar is pointing to next Saturday’s Grade 1 Beldame here, while Authenticity is expected to ship to Southern California for the Grade 1, $250,000 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita, also next Saturday.

Grade 1 winners Verrazano and Capo Bastone also worked in company, going a half-mile in 48.87. Verrazano is pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, while Plan A for King’s Bishop winner Capo Bastone is the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, Pletcher said.

Palace Malice is coming out of a fourth-place finish in the Travers in which he didn’t break well and was last early under Mike Smith, but was only beaten three-quarters of a length by Will Take Charge.

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Saturday, working by himself, Palace Malice went his first eighth in 12.83, the quarter in 24.96, and then got his last quarter in 23.47 with exercise rider Annie Finney barely moving on him. Palace Malice galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.11 and six furlongs in 1:14.50.

Pletcher said it is the kind of move he has come to expect from Palace Malice, but even he is impressed with how well the colt is doing.

“He’s run in literally every dance all year, and he seems to be thriving on it, just getting better and better,” Pletcher said. “His condition is unbelievable, the way he’s held his weight. His mental attitude has been great as well.”

In the Gold Cup, Palace Malice will have to contend with, among others, Cross Traffic, who has not run since taking the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational at Saratoga on Aug. 3. For the last several weeks, he has been working steadily with Graydar, who hasn’t run since winning the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds on March 30. Though Cross Traffic, under John Velazquez was going the easier of the pair, the two gray colts were inseparable through the lane in Saturday’s five-furlong move in 1:00.52, getting their final quarter in 24.32. They galloped out seven furlongs in 1:26.80.

“They seem to be making good mates, we’re coming into this with a little bit of a break from the Whitney with Cross Traffic, so we want to make sure we got a good solid work,” Pletcher said. “Graydar is running in a shorter race, but still coming in off a pretty significant layoff. I think we got from a conditioning standpoint what we were hoping for.”

Princess of Sylmar, the Kentucky Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Alabama winner, and Authenticity, the Shuvee winner, got the final quarter of their half-mile move in 24.15.

“Authenticity seemed a little more enthusiastic over this track than the Oklahoma track last week, but that was a very good work from both of them,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher said by running Authenticity in the Zenyatta at Santa Anita “it gives us a chance to separate them and take a shot at a Grade 1 . . . You got to run against Royal Delta here or run against Beholder there, tough spot either way; two turns there versus one turn here.”

In other works, King Kreesa, runner-up to Wise Dan in the Fourstardave at Saratoga, went five furlongs in 1:01.51 over the Belmont training track in preparation for a start in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational.

In the Joe Hirsch, King Kreesa will take on Arlington Million winner Real Solution and Sword Dancer Invitational winner Big Blue Kitten, who breezed five furlongs together in 1:02.10 over Belmont’s turf course.

Point of Entry, last year’s Joe Hirsch winner, worked four furlongs in 50.55 over the main track, his second breeze since resuming training following surgery to repair a hind leg fracture.

rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
What is going to happen to Graydar if he wins kelso, he likes to run close to the lead juat like VZ and CT even PM likes to run third or fourh in opening half mile. He could compromise all these horses chances in Bc Dirt mile and Classic. it could be a speed duel from the same barn. Sure todd will figure.
Walter More than 1 year ago
No real opinion on the JGC, but I do really like the potential line up of starters in the race, should be a great one
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Yes sir!
mikey J More than 1 year ago
The reason Palice Malice didn't make the lead in the Travers can be summed up in two words MIKE SMITH he took that horse back to a position he had never been before. The Travers was Lukas day and Pletcher gave his mentor a bone PM will be a much better horse in his next start bank on it.......
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
So Pletcher told Mike to lose so Lukas could win. So both PM and Verrazano could possibly lose Eclipse award to. Wow!
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Mikey I hope you're joking here dude cause that is just plain ignorant. I can't believe you folks are still hung up on this Mike Smith conspiracy crap...here's a tip, in the future think before you post.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Pletcher says PM danced every dance...must have forgotten his tux for Preakness. Then barely held on to beat WTC in Jim Dandy. Lost to him and Orb in Travers. I think he is getting tired. While Orb is fresh n race fit now. As for Cross Traffic...I can't see him getting uncontested lead again like Whitney. Todd is trying to politic for the Eclipse. Simply beat Orb. That's called earning it. Doubt he will. But if he does I will be glad for Mr. Campbell.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
This horse just does to many things for, I have a running line of him going 45 second half mile then I have a line of him dead last out the gate. I do not know what up with him. He maybe more talented than orb, but win or lose orb runs his race I like that. Orb wins Saturday. Mucho Macho Man will lose awesome again.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Exactly right. He is erratic. Talented but young minded. Won Jim Dandy impressively against a good field. Ran to pedigree in Belmont after skipping Preakness to be fresher colt. I think he is very nice. But I believe Orb beats him in JCGC. Cross Traffic and MOTTS two could be tough. I like Orb 1-2. Second off layoff Shug is tough.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
At this point I think most would agree Orb is the 3yr old champ, so that means Palace Malice still needs another big win to surpass him. JCGC is gonna be tough for both but not impossible, I'm hoping Orb can get it done.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of King Kreesa but don't think the distance of Competition fits well. Better spots for this horse. We'll SEE
richard cowles More than 1 year ago
Go for it.All wishwash really.Jocks come than they go.John V money money money
Bill More than 1 year ago
like to see video of workouts
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Really should offer that service
Kenny More than 1 year ago
I'm not criticizing the management of horse up to now, I just think the horse with the right trip could win BC Mile on turf ........he has a sick 2nd and 3rd qtr acceleration which IMO is perfect for 2 turns at Santa Anita, 1 1/2 miles in late September makes zero sense.
Steve S More than 1 year ago
Go buy a few horses and see how you do, buddy
Kenny More than 1 year ago
King Kreesa in Joe Hirsch Turf? This is why Pletcher and C. Brown win races by the boatload around the country.....they spot their horses and are patient. I understand KK connections want to avoid Wise Dan but 1 1/2 miles? Its a stupid move....I hope they win but they more than likely run the horse into the ground
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
I love King Kreesa but doesn't fit class or distance in this particular race. I agree 100%