Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Palace Malice Rules in New York; Preakness Winner Oxbow Finishes Second, with Kentucky Derby Winner Orb Taking Third; BELMONT STAKES

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Palace Malice Rules in New York; Preakness Winner Oxbow Finishes Second, with Kentucky Derby Winner Orb Taking Third; BELMONT STAKES

Article excerpt

New York * A pair of Hall of Fame jockeys were just about nose to nose as their horses hit the middle of the final turn of the Belmont Stakes.

Gary Stevens, aboard Preakness winner Oxbow, was going to relinquish the lead to the hard-charging Palace Malice, and he knew it. He glanced over to his right and looked at good friend Mike Smith and told him: "You go on with him big boy, you're moving better than me."

Was he ever.

Palace Malice seized the lead with a quarter-mile to go Saturday in the final leg of the Triple Crown and ran off to a 3-length victory over Oxbow at Belmont Park, with Kentucky Derby winner Orb another 1 lengths back in third.

"Mike rode a superb race," Stevens said. "Midway around the turn, I said, 'Well maybe.' But I have ridden long enough to know that he (Oxbow) was going to walk home. To finish second, I am really surprised."

Palace Malice, who came into the race with only one win in seven starts, vindicated trainer Todd Pletcher's support of the 3-year- old colt despite a 12th place finish in the Derby.

"It's huge. It's huge," Pletcher said about his second Belmont win. "We always felt like he had a big one in him. We were just waiting for it to finally develop. I told (owner) Mr. (Cot) Campbell this horse is training unbelievable. I know he's got a big run, we just need to put it all together."

The Belmont concludes a Triple Crown season in which hopes were high that Orb could break the 35-year drought without a sweep of the classics. In fact, it's the fourth time in five years each race was won by a different horse.

Palace Malice, who skipped the Preakness, covered the 1 miles in a slow 2:30.70 on a fast track following a 24-hour downpour. A crowd of 47,562 turned out on a warm, sunny afternoon as Tropical Storm Andrea moved out of the area.

For the second time during this Triple Crown run, Pletcher sent out five horses. …

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