09/05/2014 2:04PM

Palace Malice injured, retired at 4

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Barbara D. Livingston
Palace Malice retires with $2,676,135 in earnings.

Palace Malice, the winner of last year’s Belmont Stakes and this year’s Metropolitan Handicap, has been retired with bone bruising to his left hind cannon bone.

Palace Malice finished sixth as the favorite in the Grade 1 Whitney on Aug. 2 at Saratoga and returned to the work tab twice following the race, with the results prompting his connections to send the 4-year-old Curlin colt for further examination.

“Following what we thought was a very uncharacteristic race in the Whitney and two subsequent inferior works, we sent him to Rood & Riddle and did scintigraphy,” Cot Campbell, the founder of owner Dogwood Stable, said. “We discovered he had significant bruising in his left hind cannon bone. This could have turned out to be catastrophic if we continued, so we have not.

“It’s the kind of thing that within 60 to 90 days would right itself, according to [Dr. Larry Bramlage],” Campbell added. “But I think given his value and given the interest in him as a stallion, it’s time to see if any of [the stud farms] want to step up.”

Campbell said no plans for Palace Malice’s stud career have been finalized.

“Eleven different operations have contacted us through the year expressing an interest in him,” Campbell said. “We’ve notified all of them that now is the time to talk, and they’re starting to get back to me.”

Palace Malice, who was trained by Todd Pletcher, concludes his career with 7 wins from 17 starts for earnings of $2,676,135. Multiple graded stakes-placed early in his 3-year-old season, he finished 12th after setting the pace when outfitted with blinkers for the Kentucky Derby, then scored a breakthrough victory in the Belmont Stakes. He also won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes and finished second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at 3.

This year, Palace Malice won four consecutive races to start his season – the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap, Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap, Grade 3 Westchester Stakes, and Grade 1 Met Mile – before the Whitney.

“[He has] versatility and brilliance along with the stamina,” Campbell said. “He also won as a 2-year-old. He never ran a bad race. He ran races where he certainly didn’t finish well, like the Kentucky Derby, but not for lack of trying. The only uncharacteristic race he ever ran was in the Whitney. He traveled, he ran in California, Florida, New York, New Orleans. He ran everywhere and on all kinds of tracks, and he won from sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs to a mile and a half. I don’t think there’s any debate that he’s a very attractive stallion prospect.”