11/11/2015 2:01PM

Palace likely to show improvement in De Francis

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Palace wins the Hudson Handicap at Belmont on Oct. 24.

Palace should rule a solid favorite when he faces eight rivals Saturday in the $350,000 De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park.

Palace comes into the De Francis off a half-length win over New York-breds in the Hudson Handicap at Belmont Park on Oct. 24 and a fourth-place finish, beaten less than a length, in the Grade 1 Vosburgh Sept. 26 at Saratoga. He had missed some training prior to the Vosburgh, having injured a foot July 30 in the John Morrissey Stakes at Saratoga, and the two-time Grade 1 winner likely will take a step forward Saturday.

Trouble Kid, a bargain $15,000 claim by Parx-based horseman Ramon Preciado in July, looks like the biggest danger to Palace. In his last two starts, Trouble Kid has won the $150,000 Valley Forge Stakes and the Grade 3 Gallant Bob. Following the Gallant Bob, Preciado said a key to Trouble Kid’s improvement was reducing the amount of Lasix he was given before his races.

The De Francis also includes Spring to the Sky, who won the Laurel Dash on turf in September; Stallwalkin’ Dude, who finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint; Maryland Million Sprint winner Jack’s in the Deck; General George Handicap runner-up Cutty Shark, who will be making his second start following a seven-month layoff; and Gentlemen’s Bet, who won the Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn Park in March. The others are Sir Rockport and Sonny Inspired.

There are five $100,000 stakes on the De Francis undercard.