June 17, 2014

There’s a lot of racing left in 2014, but if the Eclipse Awards were held tomorrow, CURLIN’s outstanding 4yo colt Palace Malice, arguably the top handicap dirt horse in the country, would be a leading contender for Horse of the Year honors.

The Lane’s End-bred and -sold Palace Malice is now 4-for-4 this season, following his stirring win over Goldencents in the G1 Met Mile—which came a year to the day after his breakout Belmont Stakes victory. Owned by Cot Campbell’s Dogwood Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher, Palace Malice broke from the rail draw, raced along the pine on the turn, then burst through in the lane to hand Goldencents a one-length defeat.

His final time of 1:33 2/5 earned him a 111 Beyer.

“It’s pretty extraordinary to have a horse win the Belmont a year ago, and come back and win the Met Mile from the number one post, carrying 124 pounds and beating last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner, in the process,” commented Pletcher. “It’s an unbelievable accomplishment.”

In addition to the Belmont, Palace Malice captured last year’s G2 Jim Dandy S. He returned in 2014 to add the one-mile G2 Gulfstream Park H.–won in 1:33 4/5–and the G2 New Orleans H., which earned him a huge 114 Beyer Speed Figure. He nearly matched that figure next out when he took the G3 Westchester S. at Belmont by 9 3/4 lengths, good for a 113 Beyer.

His record stands at 16-7-4-1, $2,631,135.

“He doesn’t seem to have any distance limitations, short or long,” said Pletcher. “To win [three times] at a mile, once at a mile and an eighth, [and with] Belmont [S.] on the resume. We’re really excited about where he is, how he is doing, and hopefully [there is] more to come.”

According to the Aiken Standard’s Deirdre Biles, Palace Malice has four more dances on his ’14 card: the G1 Woodwood and Whitney S. at Saratoga, the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, and the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, again at Santa Anita.

Palace Malice is one of five ’14 stakes winners for CURLIN, who is dominating the third-crop sire list with $3,992,077 in earnings. How good a season is CURLIN having? If you subtracted Palace Malice’s $1.15 million in seasonal earnings, CURLIN would still lead all third-crop sires by earnings.

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