Dogwood Stable's Palace Malice worked a half-mile in :48.90 on the main track at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York on Saturday morning. It was his first breeze since he finished a disappointing sixth in the grade I Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 2.
Palace Malice worked in company with My Miss Aurelia, who was 2011's champion 2-year-old filly. The bay colt also wore blinkers for the first time since last year's grade I Kentucky Derby. In that race, Palace Malice set a scorching early pace over a sloppy surface before fading to finish 12th in a field of 19 runners.
“I galloped him in blinkers one day this week, and we just wanted to see what kind of reaction we got,” said Palace Malice's trainer, Todd Pletcher. “He worked well today, like he always does.”
“To me,” Pletcher continued, “the situation in the Derby where he got rank with the blinkers didn't have that much to do with the blinkers. I think the sloppy track, the big crowd and the way he was ridden from the (starting) gate were more the cause.”
Pletcher hasn't made a decision about trying blinkers again on Palace Malice in a race.
“I'm not ruling them out, and I'm not committing to them, but I liked the reaction we got with them,” he said.
A 4-year-old son of Curlin, Palace Malice is scheduled to return to competition in the grade I Woodward Stakes on Aug. 30 at Saratoga. He was undefeated in four 2014 races, including the grade I Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park, prior to the Whitney.
Palace Malice won the grade I Belmont Stakes last year.
My Miss Aurelia's time for her work was the same as Palace Malice's.
Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C., she is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.