Palace Malicitis

The primary attribute of Palace Malice is that he is a very good racehorse, having won the Belmont Stakes, Jim Dandy Stakes, and $1,481,135. But there are other plus factors. One, he is a big, powerful, handsome animal with a most ingratiating personality, deserving of his hefty fan base.

Certainly, we do not choose racehorses based on their affability. Some of the greatest have been mean as hell. In fact, most of the good ones tend to be a trifle edgy. But it is nice when you are able to admire one for his derring do, but love him because he's also a good guy. This one is truly a good guy.

I think if Palace Malice had a human counterpart he would be Derek Jeter, the great Yankee shortstop. Pleasant, enthusiastic, steady, strong, brilliant and durable.

Palace Malice has raced at Belmont Park, Saratoga, Gulfstream Park, Fair Grounds, Keeneland, and Churchill Downs. Dirt, Polytrack, slop. On his back it has been necessary to have the assortment of Javier Castellano, Rosie Napravnik, Garrett Gomez, Edgar Prado, and Mike Smith...with John Velazquez coming up. Not once has he failed to try. Never put a foot out of place in any paddocks, quietly gone about his business in post parades, and then run like hell when the races got underway. That night he would eat his supper, gaze inquiringly out his stall door, and the next day be rearing to train. Sound, thank God.

In the marvelous hands of Todd Pletcher, he performs in the morning with steady eagerness, doing just what is asked of him. No need to stimulate him with a workmate; he will go as fast or as slow as you want him to. His gentlemanly demeanor should not be a surprise, because his education began at Lane's End Farm and was furthered by Niall Brennan, by Brad Stauffer at our barn here in Aiken, S.C., and then by Pletcher.
He spent a short amount of time in Aiken—one of the great places, and a town whose main economic force is horses. When he went off and began dancing in the big dances, the citizenry started following him, especially because his name was rather fun to latch onto. Palace Malice's pre-Kentucky Derby campaign was flashy and promising, so Aiken was really tied on when the Derby came around.

Palace Malice was fitted with blinkers for the first time, and when he broke from the gate—with 72 hooves of l8 horses popping like firecrackers in the sloppy track—he took off with Mike Smith like a scalded dog. As he flew down the backstretch with the Dogwood colors sparkling three lengths in front, the uninitiated, in Aiken and elsewhere, said, "Oh boy, look at this!" The initiated looked at the sizzling early fractions, and said, "Oh my God, he can never last." And he did not. Still it was an exhilarating, rather unforgettable performance, and had many of his supporters on their feet and screaming. 

So, when the Belmont rolled around five weeks later, Aiken was primed for redemption. And they got it. When our colt romped to an emphatic victory, the town went crazy. Happily, I happened to blurt out in the winners' circle (to NBC-TV's Bob Costas):  "They'll be dancing in the streets in Aiken, South Carolina tonight!" That delighted and cemented the deal in this part of the Southland. His televised win in the Jim Dandy, and his sterling effort in the Travers, have gone on to fuel a well-defined epidemic of "Palace Malicitis."

Palace Malice 2013 Belmont Stakes

Palace Malice winning the Belmont Stakes...

Palace Malice winning the Jim Dandy

...and then the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga seven weeks later.

We don't think about this much. But there is a truly splendid thing about the sport and industry of Thoroughbred horse racing. And it is that here we have a large, four-legged beast, unable to make any of his own self-aggrandizing utterances, and residing in a lowly, 12' by 12' box stall. And, for some inexplicable reason he is imbued with a unique combination of ability, courage, poise—class!—that can strike thrilling delight in the hearts of so many people who watch him perform. And that they can form a wonderful personal affinity with him. His striving becomes a distinct part of their own persona.

This equates to priceless anticipation, joy, excitement...ingredients often not easy to come by, and, in many cases, experienced by recipients that could use some.

Cot Campbell and Mike Smith at Belmont 2013

Cot Campbell (R) and Mike Smith hoist the Belmont Stakes trophy   

16 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Rusty Weisner

Cot Campbell,

Thanks for your wonderful horse.  I've loved him since his Bluegrass, thought he could have been a Derby winner, and was glad I finally won money on him -- a lot -- in the Belmont.

Please let us know how he looks and what the signs are for the BC Classic.  I'd love to have a reason to bet him again.

18 Oct 2013 3:16 PM
Curlin 1:53.46

Loved this horse since his first start at Belmont in that quick time coming second. Also love the way he grinds out races. He definitely has his Sires durability and traits in races, which I think is super cool.

18 Oct 2013 6:06 PM
Karen in Texas

Mr. Campbell,

Thank you for the observations on your wonderful son of Curlin! I have been afflicted with Palace Malicitis since the beginning of his career, and hope to visit him in Aiken after the Breeders'Cup.  

18 Oct 2013 6:37 PM
Eddie S.

Mr. Campbell

Thank you for this article. I enjoyed it very much. Actually, before the Jim Dandy, I was lucky enough to see this colt in his stall. I agree about his personality traits completely. I have been afflicted with Palace Malicitis since February of 2013, the Risen Star Stakes, where I realized how special of a colt he is. He was all over the track, lugging his head, drifting, but still came 3rd. It almost astonishes me to see how this horse has developed throughout his career- and I must say- the colt who came 3rd in the Risen Star is not the same colt that won the Belmont, Jim Dandy, was the best in the Travers, and ran decent in the Gold Cup. I wish you the best of luck with this colt, in the Breeder's Cup, and I really hope you decide to bring him back next year.

Have a good day

-Eddie

18 Oct 2013 7:12 PM
Danette

Mr. Campbell - thanks for sharing with us about your amazing Palace Malice.  I'm so psyched to see him run in the BC.  My money will all be on him to WIN!!!  Have a wonderful time there.  And thank you for running him again next year. He will be a monster for sure!!

18 Oct 2013 7:23 PM
kelso fan

Thanks, Mr. Campbell, for this great article about Palace Malice.  I have been on the PM bandwagon all year - first because I am a big fan of Dogwood (and I try to never miss the Aiken Trials even tho I live in Phoenix) and then because he is an incredibly talented horse!  I am so glad you will keep him in training next year.  I think he will be even better.  I will be at Santa Anita cheering him on.

18 Oct 2013 9:24 PM
Bethany Loftis

Thanks again Mr. Campbell for another wonderful article! This one being about Palace Malice though has to be your best ;) He has such a wonderful stride and seems like he truly loves his job, a testament to your management and Pletcher's training. It is amazing how a 1200-pound animal can reside in a 12'x12' stall with the weight of everyone's expectations bearing down, step on to the track and lay it all down while expecting nothing in return besides some good loving and a peppermint. Your love for this horse is reflected in his attitude every time he steps on the track. He tears it up for the sheer thrill of hearing himself run. I have a feeling he's only going to get better with time and each passing race.

Best of luck to you and your warrior on your continued journey!!! Time to create a little Malice at Santa Anita!!!

18 Oct 2013 9:52 PM
Beth Davis

Mr. Campbell,

Thank you for sharing your horse and your stories with all of us. I live about an hour from Aiken  and I must tell you it has been so much fun to root for a "local" horse". Best wishes and much luck at Santa Anita, I'll be rooting for him from in front of the TV in SC.

19 Oct 2013 4:35 PM
Palace Malacitis? - Horse Racing Talk

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20 Oct 2013 4:00 AM
One Too Many » HolyBull.ca

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20 Oct 2013 10:50 AM
Old Timer

Mr. Campbell, thank you for a fine article on a very good horse. Summer Squall was one of my favorites and I loved your book about him also. Best of luck in this year's Classic.

20 Oct 2013 7:24 PM
Tana Rae

Cot, your last paragraph says it all for me:  "this equates to priceless anticipation, joy, excitement....ingredients often not easy to come by and, in many cases, experienced by recipients that could use some".  I'm one of those recipients whose trying past 6 years has been made easier to endure because of horse racing and horses such as your Palice Malice.  He is amazing!    I love your blog and entertaining honesty.  Thank you!

21 Oct 2013 3:02 AM
Bornahorseman

MR.CAMPBELL

I HAVE BEEN A FAN OF  PALICE MALICE  SINCE  HIS WIN IN  NEW YORK AS A  TWO YEAR OLD

hE  HAS  THE SAME HEART AS HIS DAD  AND  I HOPE  YOU RACE HIM AT 4     HE  WILL BE EVEN BETTER        

22 Oct 2013 11:01 AM
SpectacularB

Great article - love this horse!

22 Oct 2013 8:11 PM
Stage Door Ball

Loved reading about Palace Malice's pleasing personality.  The son of Curlin sounds like a delight to be around.  I was wondering if the name has a sports arena relation.  Heard the term the other day on ESPN I believe.

26 Jan 2014 9:32 AM
Luv Me Some Malice

I spoke with Jack Sadler, VP of Dogwood Stables, this morning to wish them all the best of luck in Saturday's Gulfstream Handicap Stakes with Palace Malice. I had the great pleasure of watching PM work at home in Aiken, SC this winter and would just like to expound on what a terrific organization they are. Everyone is very friendly, courteous and loved to share him with his fans. As for PM himself, he's a go-getter and a gentleman too. One afternoon in December during his "afternoon grazing time", I was fortunate enough to have him all to myself (well, Jack Sadler & Mr. Stephens were there too). We all enjoyed great conversation, peppermints and carrots! Cot Campbell & his wife, Ann, are truly rare gems. They are very accomodating, ready to make all feel welcome and are so thrilled about all the great things they are experiencing because of and with Palace Malice. I look forward to talking with them all again in about 10 days when Aiken will have a celebration in naming Palace Malice "Aiken's Horse of the Year" for 2013. May he always have wings on his feet, the wind at his back and Hall of Fame hands to guide him!

07 Mar 2014 3:10 PM

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