John Fennelly, Lead Writer
The Orb-Oxbow showdown at the 145th Belmont Stakes was interrupted by a surprise visitor in the stretch on Saturday: Todd Pletcher’s underachieving brown colt, Palace Malice.
With veteran hall of fame jockey Mike Smith up, Palace Malice was positioned perfectly at the top of the stretch for a run at the wire. At the quarter pole, Smith guided him past Oxbow, the Preakness winner, and never looked back. Palace Malice, who went off at 14-1, galloped to a 3 1/4 length victory. Oxbow held off a charging Orb, the Derby winner, for second.
Palace Malice did not get much love from wagerers yesterday because he had disappointed so often in the past. No one doubted the horse could compete, but his discipline was in question. The colt had shown flashes of breaking out, finishing second in the Blue Grass and third in the Risen Star.
But on the other side of the ledger, he was an also ran in the Louisiana Derby and, with blinkers on in the Kentucky Derby, he finished 12th after posting nice fractions for the first half-mile of the race. He did not run in the Preakness.
The Belmont was the final venue for Pletcher and his organization to feature Palace Malice, so they approached it with a no-holds-barred attitude. From Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form:
The blinkers came off for the Belmont, jockey Mike Smith stayed on, and Palace Malice continued to train strongly. Pletcher said his penultimate work for the Belmont was one of the best of any horse he’s ever trained, and this week, his top assistant, Michael McCarthy, said, “This horse has a big one in him.”
Yes, he did….Here’s the chart…the exacta paid $323.50. The triple (12-7-5) paid $931.00 and the superfecta (12-7-5-6) priced out at a whopping $20,602.00.
GEICO SportsNite takes a look at the Belmont Stakes and talks with winning jockey Mike Smith as he discusses his horse Palace Malice.