Johnny Velazquez has been the bridesmaid in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on three occasions in the past, but he arguably has his best chance of going one better in 2013 with a lucrative spare ride on Palace Malice.
Mike Smith has ridden the horse in each of his last five racecourse appearances, but he will not be in the saddle at Santa Anita, as Smith is also the regular pilot of 3/1 Breeders’ Cup Classic favourite Game On Dude.
Velazquez was runner-up in 2004 on board Roses In May, second again in the following year with Flower Alley and then rode Henrythenavigator in 2008.
Palace Malice may be 10/1 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic betting for this renewal and the big negative is that he has never won over the race distance in his three career attempts.
Two of these have been on his last two starts, but there have been excuses each time. Palace Malice was fourth in the Travers Stakes when stumbling out of the stalls and then second in another Group 1 from a nightmare wide draw, when forced to travel on the outside.
In the first of these, he did especially well to get within a length of the eventual winner Will Take Charge and Palace Malice’s trainer Todd Pletcher certainly felt that his horse had produced the best performance.
Despite his previous failures, Palice Malice does seem a genuine threat over 1m2f and the fact that he prefers to sit off the pace may end up being profitable, if the early speed is strong, as it has a tendency to be.
Palace Malice does look the pick of the US three-year-old class of 2013 and this is an age group that has triumphed in two of the last six renewals of the Classic.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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