07/27/2013 6:04PM

Saratoga: Palace Malice shows he's real deal in Jim Dandy

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Tom Keyser
Palace Malice holds off Will Take Charge (left) after putting away Moreno (right).

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - As well as Palace Malice ran winning the Belmont Stakes, his connections felt his performance in Saturday’s Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga may have been better.

And, jockey Mike Smith says, “There’s room to grow.”

Palace Malice backed up his Belmont Stakes victory with a solid one-length victory over Will Take Charge in the Jim Dandy, setting up a showdown with Kentucky Derby winner Orb - and perhaps Preakness winner Oxbow - in next month’s $1 million Travers Stakes here.

[SARATOGA 2013: Complete meet coverage, exclusive DRF videos]

Palace Malice, a son of Curlin owned by Cot Campbell’s Dogwood Stable, gave trainer Todd Pletcher his sixth Jim Dandy win, all since 2000. Palace Malice will seek to become the 11th Jim Dandy winner to also win the Travers. Two of those horses - Flower Alley (2005) and Stay Thirsty (2011) - were trained by Pletcher.

“The horse keeps getting better and better, and today was arguably his best performance yet,” Pletcher said. “Now, hopefully, on to the Travers.”

After stalking the pace established by Moreno, Palace Malice took over in midstretch and had more than enough to hold off a late bid from Will Take Charge. It was 2 1/4 lengths farther back to Moreno in third, who finished five lengths ahead of fourth-place Bashaar. Code West, Looking Cool, Perfect Title, Mylute and Freedom Child completed the order of finish. Vyjack scratched to run in Sunday’s $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

Palace Malice ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.37, making this the second-fastest of 42 Jim Dandys run at that distance. Only Louis Quatorze (1:47.26) ran faster. He paid $4.70 to win as the favorite.

“He was better than last time,” Smith said of Palace Malice. “Those are kind of big words to say after winning the Belmont, but he truly was and with room to grow. The last sixteenth of a mile he was well within himself and searching for more ground if I needed it.”

He will need it in the Travers, which is run at 1 1/4 miles.

Palace Malice raced in second, about one length off Moreno, who set fractions of 24.06 seconds for the quarter, 47.48 for the half-mile, and 1:11.13 for six furlongs

Palace Malice engaged Moreno around the far turn and tussled with him until just outside the sixteenth pole, when he began to edge clear.

“Horse broke really well, went to the first turn very relaxed," Pletcher said. "We had a beautiful trip. He got into a good, comfortable rhythm down the backside, relaxed nicely, finished up pretty well. That’s a very, very good time.”

Will Take Charge, who raced in fifth early, was the only horse to make up any ground, closing the margin in deep stretch but never really threatening.

“He got first run on us,” D. Wayne Lukas, trainer of Will Take Charge, said of Palace Malice. “When you’re a closer like we are and they cut that corner and get that first kick, it’s hard to run them down. But the next one’s a little longer."

Eric Guillot, trainer of third-place finisher Moreno, said he was happy with his horse’s performance for the first time around two turns and first time at 1 1/8 miles. Guillot said he would come back in the Travers.

“You got to be happy with that," Guillot said. "The rest of the field was back. These are the best 3-year-olds in the country. The Belmont winner beat me, but he dug in and showed a little game effort.”

The biggest disappointment in the race was Mylute, the 5-2 second choice who finished eighth in the nine-horse field, beaten 20 lengths.

“When he makes his run it’s from the half-mile pole home," said Tom Amoss, trainer of Mylute. "At the half-mile pole I knew he wasn’t making a run, I knew we were in trouble."

Gary Camejo More than 1 year ago
i bet Palace in the belmont cause i knew his handlers made a huge mistake with the blinkers for the derby, that day i did not bet him. Listen guys this horse is royally bred, his owners got away with this one for only 200k. You are going to hear much more PM before the year is out.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
This is the type that can take the BC Classic in November.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
He sure did. Im a believer.
Rob More than 1 year ago
I am confused, I thought Mr. Guillot said he could beat Palace malice by 12?
Mike Rozier More than 1 year ago
Wow. There are still people doubting Palace Malice after yesterday's Jim Dandy? The 2nd fastest in its history? He romped to an easy 1 length victory as the winner was never in doubt. Can't wait to see him in the Travers, and hopefully the BC Classic to end the year.
John Nicoletti More than 1 year ago
Totally agree, Mike. The Curlin strain is so obvious. This horse is the real deal. He should love the Travers, since he has an affinity for Saratoga.
Lou More than 1 year ago
The luckiest horse wins the Derby, the fastest wins the Preakness and the BEST wins the Belmont. Palace Malice is just like his father Curlin who got better after the triple crown and became horse of the year.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Then why is it that in recent years the winner of the Belmont was nowhere to be found in the prior TC races and then rarely wins 1-2 races over the course of the next year?
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
I completely disagree. When I look at the form and see a Belmont Stakes horse, I draw a line through the line and bet based on prior form. Today is a good example of that angle. If Oxbow gets back to where he was in his form cycle prior to the Belmont, he may be cruising across the line for the biggest number of his career. Or not, just my opinion.
Will More than 1 year ago
how did that work out for you? PM got brutal trips all spring and a bad decision by Pletcher in the derby.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Tom Whitmore3 days ago Palace Malice will be another Belmont Stakes winner that will fail to win another race period Great call Tom Whitmore
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
Mark , can you tell me the winner of the Haskel. Thanks.
Mark More than 1 year ago
kc m2 days ago just want to thank all the people hyping palace malice--please continue...i want my horse to have the longest odds he can get. How the JD work out for you KC?
Old timer More than 1 year ago
who is moderating these blogs for DRF? Let's get rid of the spam and only post if it is about horse racing!!!
papajoe Santiago More than 1 year ago
HOLY BULL YOU ARE TALKING OUT OF YOUR YOU KNOW WHAT,SAYING THAT VELASQUEZ HAS BEEN FED WINNER BECAUSE OF THE TRAINER,JERRY BAILY WHAT ABOUT HIM NO TO METION WEST COAST WERE BOBBY IS STATION THERE,I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING ARROGANT OF JOHNNY V MAYBE IN YOUR EYES,NEXT YOU WILL SAYING SOMETHING LIKE THAT TO RASARIO WHO CAME HERE FROM THE WAET I WONDER WHY MR .BIG SHOT
jjklavins More than 1 year ago
hey pj, less YELLING and more spelling
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Your caps lock button is on the left side of your keyboard