11/14/2014 1:11PM

Palace Malice to return in 2015

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Barbara D. Livingston
The connections of Palace Malice said the multiple Grade 1 winner has passed a veterinary examination and will return to racing in 2015.

The on-again-off-again saga that has been the career of Palace Malice for the last two months is officially on again. Co-owners Dogwood Stable and Three Chimneys Farm announced Friday that the multiple Grade 1 winner has passed a veterinary examination and will return to the races in 2015.

In his most recent outing, Palace Malice finished sixth as the favorite in the Grade 1 Whitney on Aug. 2 at Saratoga. Following that loss and two subpar works, the 4-year-old son of Curlin was diagnosed with bone bruising of his left hind cannon bone, which prompted Dogwood Stable to announce his retirement in early September and begin soliciting bids from stud farms.

Less than three weeks later, Three Chimneys Farm purchased an interest in Palace Malice, and the deal’s terms raised the possibility that he could return to training.

“I’m a great fan of racing,” Dogwood founder and president Cot Campbell said. “When we began receiving bids from various farms, we didn’t expect one to come along to purchase half-interest with the idea of racing another year. [Three Chimneys Farm’s] offer was very, very appealing.”

Palace Malice underwent an extensive veterinary examination, including X-rays and ultrasounds, on Thursday in Lexington, Ky., and was pronounced sound for racing by a panel of veterinarians led by Larry Bramlage and Robert Copelan.

Palace Malice left Lexington on Friday morning bound for Dogwood’s training base in Aiken, S.C., where he will begin jogging Monday. The colt will spend 60 to 90 days in Aiken before rejoining trainer Todd Pletcher’s string in Florida. The Breeders’ Cup Classic on Oct. 31 at Keeneland will be his ultimate goal for 2015.

“We’ll start off slowly,” Campbell said. “We’re going to ease him into it. This horse gets himself ready quickly. … The idea is to get him fit in an easy, gradual manner.

“He’s blooming, dappled out; he looks great,” Campbell added, noting that Palace Malice has put on about 45 pounds during rehab. “He was a wonderful patient in rehab.”

Upon his eventual retirement, Three Chimneys will assume full ownership of the horse to stand at its Midway, Ky., farm.

Palace Malice, the winner of the 2013 Belmont Stakes, emerged as an older male championship candidate in the first half 2014 by winning his first four starts – the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap, Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap, Grade 3 Westchester Stakes, and Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap – prior to suffering his first loss of the year in the Whitney. He has bankrolled $2,676,135.