Palace Malice , right, ridden by jockey Mike Smith, battles Oxbow, with jockey Gary Stevens up, around the fourth turn in the Belmont Stakes horse race in Elmont, N.Y., Saturday, June 8, 2013. Palace Malice won the race, Oxbow finished second. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)
NEW YORK (AP) — Palace Malice took charge on the turn for home and won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, holding off Preakness winner Oxbow and Kentucky Derby winner Orb.
The win gave Todd Pletcher his second Belmont winner in six years, and vindicated the trainer’s support of a 3-year-old who came into the final leg of the Triple Crown with only one win.
Palace Malice, who finished 12th in the Derby and skipped the Preakness, covered the 1½ miles in a slow 2:30.70 on a fast track following a 24-hour downpour. The colt owned by Cot Campbell’s Dogwood Stable won by 3¼ lengths after passing pacesetter Oxbow. Orb made a late move but came up far short and finished third.
Palace Malice, ridden by Mike Smith and sent off at odds of 13-1, returned $29.60, $11.20 and $6.70. The colt was one of a record five entries by Pletcher.
Incognito was fourth, followed by Revolutionary, the filly Unlimited Budget, Overanalyze, Vyjack, Golden Soul, Will Take Charge, Giant Finish, Midnight Taboo, Freedom Child and Frac Daddy.
Oxbow, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, returned $9.90 and $6.10, and Orb, trained by Shug McGaughey, paid $3.30.
When Palace Malice moved past Oxbow, Smith said fellow Hall of Famer Stevens looked over at him “like a big brother telling his little brother. ‘You go on with it big boy, you’re moving better than me.'”
Last Sunday, Palace Malice put in his final workout before the Belmont, blazing 4 furlongs in 47.40. Pletcher called it one of the most impressive works he’d ever seen. And Palace Malice came through in a big way, earning $600,000 of the $1 million purse and giving Pletcher his third win in a Triple Crown race.
The nation’s leading trainer won the 2007 Belmont with the filly Rags to Riches and the 2010 Derby with Super Saver. Smith won his second Belmont, having won aboard Drosselmeyer in 2010.
Pletcher’s other four Belmont runners were Revolutionary, Unlimited Budget, Overanalyze and Midnight Taboo.