Kentucky Derby hopeful Palace Malice will make his stakes debut in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on February 23, according to Cot Campbell, Dogwood Stable President.
"It's close to a toss-up between the Fountain of Youth that day at Gulfstream, but we can get Rosie Napravnik in New Orleans, our horse is an easy shipper and he's been training sharply for Todd Pletcher since his good 2013 debut," Campbell said. "We are looking for ground and both races are at a mile and a sixteenth. Like everyone else, we are hunting points, and New Orleans looks like the better place to get some."
The three-year-old will fly to New Orleans on February 21 on a charter from Miami.
Palace Malice is a son of Curlin out of the Royal Anthem mare Palace Rumor. After a nose second in his career debut at Belmont, the bay colt impressively broke his maiden by a 3 1/2-length margin at Saratoga. Palace Malice bucked his shins in the Saratoga win and came back to the races 5 1/2 months later on January 19, finishing a good second to Majestic Hussar in a seven-furlong Gulfstream allowance, and earned a 101 BRIS Speed rating. That rival is being pointed toward the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.
"We think we've got a good one, but we'll find that out pretty quick now," Campbell said.
The 1 1/16-mile Risen Star is part of the first leg of the "Championship Series" portion of the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" scoring system that awards the top four finishers on a 50-20-10-5 point scale.
Other confirmed runners include Grade 3 Lecomte winner Oxbow; Grade 2 Remsen runner-up Normandy Invasion; local maiden winner Proud Strike; and Lecomte runner-up Golden Soul.