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Apr 04, 2014

Palace Malice dominates to win New Orleans Handicap


New Orleans, LA ( - Palace Malice, last year's Belmont Stakes winner, gained his first victory at Fair Grounds with a dominating victory over Normandy Invasion in Saturday's $400,000 New Orleans Handicap.

Owned by Dogwood Stable, Palace Malice posted a 4 3/4-length win over his fellow 4-year-old in posting his second win of the year in as many starts.

Leaving from the outside post in the six-horse field with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, Palace Malice stalked the pace and took control on the final turn. The colt drove through the stretch as Normandy Invasion and jockey Rosie Napravnik rallied wide around the final turn to get second at the wire.

Sunbean finished third followed by Fordubai, Golden Soul and Bradestar.

The time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:48.93 on a fast track.

"This horse holds a special place in my heart," said Smith about Palace Malice. "I'm just so happy that I got to reunite with him and he didn't let us down. He might be better than he was last year. He did that pretty handily today."

Palace Malice, trained by Todd Pletcher, was coming off a head victory in the Gulfstream Park Handicap three weeks ago. Saturday's win was worth $240,000 and is the 4-year-old's fifth in 14 lifetime starts. He has career earnings of $1,871,135.

As a 3-year-old in 2013, Palace Malice posted three wins in 10 starts for just under $1.42 million. Along with winning 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. He finished the year with a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Palace Malice paid $4.40, $2.40 and $2.10. Normandy Invasion returned $2.20 and $2.10, Sunbean paid $2.80 to show.

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