Todd Pletcher was the big winner in the weekend’s top stakes races for three-year-olds. On Saturday, Dogwood Stable's Belmont Stakes winner, Palace Malice, gave Pletcher his sixth Jim Dandy (G2) victory. On Sunday, Let’s Go Stable’s Verrazano gave Pletcher his third Haskell Invitational (G1) win. Both colts were sent off as favorites and each dominated his race. Now the race is on for top three-year-old honors!
On Saturday, Palace Malice overtook a game Moreno in the stretch of the 1 1/8 mile race and cruised to a length win over a fast-charging Will Take Charge in the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2). Moreno held on for third and Bashaar kept a head in front of Code West to take fourth. Mylute, second-choice in the field, never fired and finished next to last.
Palace Malice returned $4.70, $3.40, and $2.70. Will Take Charge paid $11.80 and $6.10 and completed the $2 exacta for $60. Moreno paid $4.30 and completed the $2 trifecta for $677. Bashaar completed the $2 superfecta for $4,132. The final time for the 1 1/8 mile race over the fast dirt was 1:47.37.
On Sunday, Verrazano dominated the $1,000,000 William Hill Haskell Invitational (G1) sitting just off the pace of Preakness winner Oxbow through much of the 1 1/8 route before overtaking him at the top of the stretch. Power Broker started his closing kick at the same time, but Verrazano hit the turbo boosters and powered through the stretch, leaving the pair 9 3/4 lengths in his dust. Micromanage closed from sixth to get up for the show, a nose in front of Oxbow.
Jockey Gary Stevens, sensing something off in his colt, hopped off Oxbow after the race, and handlers walked the Preakness winner off the track. Initial x-rays were done at the barn and the on-track vet stated Oxbow likely had a soft-tissue injury.
Verrazano returned $4.20, $3.20, and $2.10. Power Broker paid $4.80 and $3.60 and completed the $2 exacta for $22. Micromanage paid $4.00 and completed the $2 trifecta for $52.50. Oxbow completed the $1 superfecta for $106. The final time for the 1 1/8 mile race over the fast dirt was 1:50.68.
Photo: Courtesy BelmontStakes.com