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Mar 07, 2014

Palace Malice makes return in Gulfstream Park Handicap


Hallandale Beach, FL ( - Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice will begin his 4-year-old season in Saturday's $250,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap versus seven rivals going a mile.

Owned by Dogwood Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher, Palace Malice has drawn the far outside post with John Velazquez getting the mount.

"It's a mile race which may not be our cup of tea," Dogwood president Cot Campbell posted on the stable's website. "We hope it is because it would open up the possibility of the Metropolitan Mile on Belmont Day. In any case, it's an excellent place to get started after a four month break."

As a 3-year-old in 2013, Palace Malice posted three wins in 10 starts for just under $1.42 million. Along with the Belmont Stakes he won the Jim Dandy at Saratoga and finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and Belmont Park's Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Also set to make his seasonal debut Saturday is former Travers winner Golden Ticket. Trained by Ken McPeek, Golden Ticket will be ridden by Manny Cruz from post 2.

"I really think he can be really effective at a mile," McPeek said. "But this race is a good starting off point for the year. I don't know if I can tell you he's 110 percent fit, but I can tell you he's not far off. He's ready to run."

Owned by Magic City Thoroughbreds, Golden Ticket was second to Goldencents in last year's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita. He followed that effort with an eighth-place finish to Will Take Charge in Churchill Downs' Clark Handicap.

Golden Ticket, best known for his dead heat win with Alpha in the 2012 Travers, has earned nearly $1.1 million with five wins in 21 lifetime starts.

Itsmyluckyday makes his first start since being injured at Monmouth Park last June. The 4-year-old colt, trained by Ed Plesa, will start from post 7 with Paco Lopez riding.

"This race coming up was not a goal of mine to reach; it just falls in the time frame that works as far as his road back," Plesa noted.

Itsmyluckyday, owned by Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa, suffered a pelvic fracture during the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth racing against Verrazano. The colt won the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull Stakes last year and finished second in the Florida Derby and Preakness Stakes. He was 15th behind Orb in the Kentucky Derby.

With five wins in 13 starts the colt has earned $830,100.

Here is the field in post position order: Brujo de Olleros, Corey Lanerie; Golden Ticket, Manny Cruz; Uncaptured, Luis Contreras; Falling Sky, Elvis Trujillo; Sr. Quisqueyano, Carlos Olivero; Narvaez, Abdiel Jaen; Itsmyluckyday, Paco Lopez and Palace Malice, John Velazquez.

The Gulfstream Park Handicap has an approximate post time of 5:10 p.m. ET.

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