06/08/2013 9:16PM

Belmont Stakes: Palace Malice emerges from Curlin’s first crop

Barbara D. Livingston
Palace Malice is from the first crop of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.

Curlin, arguably one of the best two or three U.S. horses of the 2000s, dominated racing headlines during his 2007 and 2008 campaigns, providing racing fans with a handful of superior performances on the track and plenty of intrigue elsewhere as well. The all-time earnings leader in North America, Curlin was naturally highly regarded as a potential standout sire upon his retirement in 2008 to William S. Farish III’s Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky.

Palace Malice’s convincing 3 1/4-length win in the Belmont on Saturday over Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow and Kentucky Derby winner Orb gives Curlin a classic winner from his first crop to race. The bay colt captured one of the few top-level races that his sire fell short in, as Curlin was outdueled by the great filly Rags to Riches in the 2007 Belmont—ironically giving Palace Malace’s trainer Todd Pletcher his first classic win.

It is appropriate that Palace Malice emerged with his breakthrough race as a 3-year-old, as Curlin, by Smart Strike, did not even race until breaking his maiden in impressive fashion in February 2007 at Gulfstream Park. Jess Jackson of Stonestreet Stables led a syndicate that purchased 80 percent of Curlin, who is out of the unraced Deputy Minister mare Sherriff’s Deputy, for a reported $3.5 million following that win, and the physically imposing colt went on to win the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby. He then finished third in the Kentucky Derby before taking the Preakness over Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and coming up just short against Rags to Riches in New York.

In the second half of 2007, Curlin merely became the best horse in training, defeating older horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and then dominating in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. In 2008, Curlin more than lived up to Jackson’s stated desire to test his horse against the best competition on hand, winning the Dubai World Cup, Stephen Foster Handicap, Woodward Stakes, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup once again before concluding his career with a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic over what was then Santa Anita’s synthetic Pro-Ride surface.

Curlin’s first winners came in Russia last year and in terms of purse monies, Palace Malice was actually his best earner in 2012, with $62,000. The colt finished a close second in his debut at Belmont last July and then won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Saratoga in August.

Delving into Palace Malice’s pedigree, the majority of stamina influence arises from his sire’s side, as Curlin won a grand total of five races at 1 1/4 miles (counting both the Dubai World Cup and a handicap in Dubai during spring 2008 at just a shade under that distance) and as mentioned nearly won the Belmont.

Palace Malace’s dam, the Royal Anthem mare Palace Rumor, won the 1 1/16-mile Audubon Oaks at Ellis Park in 2006 but never earned a graded stakes placing and did her best running in the optional claiming ranks. She has had two other foals to race, and both of them have won at a very modest level: the fillies Lady June Bug, who has won three of ten starts, all at 5 1/2 furlongs; and Puritanka, who won in Russia at about six furlongs. 

Palace Rumor is a half-sister to Maya’s Storm and Jumpifyoudare, who both won multiple stakes races at Prairie Meadows at distances ranging from 5 1/2 furlongs to six furlongs. That trio of stakes winners is out of the winning Red Ransom mare Whisperifyoudare, Palace Malice’s second dam. She is a half-sister to Sweet Trip, by Carson City, who is the dam of Grade 1 winner Rail Trip, a hard-trying gelding owned by Jay Em Ess Stable who took the 2007 Hollywood Gold Cup in track-record time for 1 1/4 miles. Rail Trip, who also ran second in the 2008 Hollywood Gold Cup, provides the only dose of classic-distance stamina in the first three generations of Palace Malice’s female family.

Matthew Linda Jr. More than 1 year ago
Palace Rumor got the TRIP of the century. Ultimately trainer Pletcher got his 10%. Repole Stable who had three (3) shots came-up empty. That re-echoes the question of being stupid or overwhelmingly DUMB. Blessed with WEALTH and some NICE thoroughbreds, Mike's input into the Sport of Kings should be considered complex. Simply, GIRLS should NEVER run against the Boys. Yooooo don't tell 'RAGS to RICHES' your conclusion
not impressed More than 1 year ago
Think this pretty much puts to rest who would be better at stud from the gate, Big Brown or Culin! LOL Glad to see him get a classic win in his first crop.
Don Thomson More than 1 year ago
Interesting to call Curlin a U.S. horse when both his sire and his dam sire are Canadian breds
Alex Boyd More than 1 year ago
Canadian breds are a very important part of a lot of great thoroughbred champion's and great stallions today. Go Canadian Breds!
Corrie Hanson More than 1 year ago
KY foaled = US Horse
Jacques More than 1 year ago
@Ray Sousa: I was noticing the same thing about Royal Anthem as the broodmare sire. He won several top quality races at 1 1/2 miles and 1 1/4 miles, both here and in Europe. Rather curious how the writer of this article could discount his pedigree and ability as potential influences on Palace Malice's pedigree.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Come on the dams sire is ROYAL ANTHEM who not only won at 1 1/2 miles in a gr1 in England but also won the breeders cup turf at 1 1.2 miles and is well know for producing long distance turf horses including some steeple chasers who go 2 miles....theres also RED RANSOM,ROBERTO,HAIL TO REASON and ACK ACK in the mares pedigree all could stay.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
and I forgot to mention the mare also has SASSAFRAS in her pedigree a well know source of stamina who won the French derby and ST LEGER at 1 1/2 miles but also the prix de arc de triomphe Europe's big race also at 1 1/2 miles....whisperifyoudare is by stellar affair her dam who won a minor stakes at Del mar at 1 1/8 m...so its hardly a sprinters pedigree on the bottom I would argue he gets his staying ability from the dam.
Kyri Freeman More than 1 year ago
Curlin seems to have really improved this mare. I was surprised he wasn't more popular in his first seasons at stud -- I hope he will get some nice mares now he has shown what he can do.
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
Wow dam's side does not show distance