Belmont Stakes: Palace Malice impresses Pletcher with work

Story by: David Grening


Trainer Todd Pletcher’s list of Belmont candidates went from six to five Monday morning after Micromanage was pulled from consideration by owner Mike Repole following a mediocre workout at Belmont Park.

Of course, Micromanage’s move may have only looked bad because he worked in company with Palace Malice, who put in a strong five-furlong work with “a monstrous gallop-out” according to Pletcher, on a busy morning at Belmont Park.

[BELMONT STAKES: Probable field and latest updates]

Palace Malice, who finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby, worked five furlongs in 1:00.24 over a fast main track, but it was his gallop-out that had Pletcher raving. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.26, seven-eighths in 1:24.60 and a mile in 1:38.60.

“I think Palace Malice worked unbelievably well,” Pletcher said. “If you took Micromanage away from him and put him with somebody else he might have looked a little better.”

Still, owner Mike Repole said Micromanage - who was timed in 1:01.17 - would not run in the Belmont but instead point to the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes on the undercard.

However, Repole could still have three starters in the Belmont. Overanalyze, who worked five furlongs in 1:00.63 with Caixa Eletronica, is certain to run, Repole said.

Repole said the filly Unlimited Budget is 75 percent to run while the maiden winner Midnight Taboo is 60 percent to start. Unlimited Budget and Midnight Taboo worked five furlongs together in 1:00.49 over the Belmont main track.
Revolutionary, third in the Kentucky Derby for Pletcher and WinStar Farm, also had a strong gallop-out following a half-mile work in 48.76 seconds in company with the debut winning 3-year-old Oldwick. Revolutionary continued through five furlongs in 1:00.77, six furlongs in 1:14.12, seven-eighths in 1:27.73 and a mile in 1:41.08.

“I was really happy with the way he went this morning, the way he galloped out, the way he cooled out. He wasn’t tired at all,” Pletcher said. “I think he’s maintained his fitness really, really well.”

Freedom Child, the Peter Pan winner, turned in an impressive five furlong move in 1:00.06 over Belmont Park’s main track.

“If I wasn’t looking at my watch I would have never thought he was traveling that fast down the lane,” trainer Tom Albertrani said.

At the Fair Hill training center in Maryland, Giant Finish worked four furlongs in 49.20 seconds over the dirt track.

“Very workmanlike as he usually is,” trainer Tony Dutrow said.

Meanwhile, trainer Shug McGaughey said Monday that he sees “no reason not to” run Kentucky Derby winner Orb in the Belmont.

“I think he’s getting better every day,” McGaughey said after watching Orb gallop over the main track.

Incognito, fifth in the Peter Pan, worked four furlongs in 50.01 seconds over Belmont’s main track.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said the Belmont is a thought because “we think he wants the distance.” McLaughlin said no final determination has been made on Incognito’s Belmont status.