The $1 million Belmont Stakes (G1), the final jewel in the Triple Crown, was billed as a showdown between the Kentucky Derby winner, Orb and the Preakness Stakes winner, Oxbow. However, it was Palace Malice who would upset the pair and take victory in the Belmont Stakes before a crowd of 47,562.
The win was the second Belmont victory for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won his first Belmont in 2007 when the filly Rags to Riches won a hard-fought battle with two-time Horse of the Year, Curlin. As the sire of Palace Malice, Saturday’s win may have been redemption for Curlin’s near-miss six years ago. Palace Malice’s victory gave Curlin his first Classic winner as a sire.
For jockey Mike Smith, who’s ridden in over a dozen Belmonts and won his first Belmont in 2010 with Drosselmeyer, the win with Palace Malice, the seventh choice among the bettors, was a collaboration of experience and luck.
“I was just blessed, again, to be part of it and to have ridden so many years in the Belmont,” said Smith. “I think Gary Stevens put it best when he said, ‘it's like the ocean.’ You can get lost, if you don't know it, and these are my waters. I know where the fish are at.”