I finally have an answer again to the question of who my favourite horse in training is. Fortunately, this did not have to be a result of soul-searching and hair-splitting and new exercises in playing favourites among dozens of horses who makes me squeal with glee. No, it’s nothing like that.
He had his scans on Thursday, and the veterinarians have pronounced him to be recovered from his bone bruise, and sound to race. Dogwood is on board, Three Chimneys is on board, and Palace Malice is heading from Kentucky to Aiken, SC today.
Not even two months ago, I was resigned to never seeing him race again, and having to wait for the Palace Malice babies in a few years. Now? He is pointing toward a five-year-old year, and hopefully another crack at the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
This is another racing career for Palace Malice: an unexpected gift, and something I tried to hard to convince myself would not actually happen. But, it’s happening. The horse who has done so much to take me from a casual fan of horse racing to a dedicated one…if all goes well, he is going to see the starter again, and going to make me fall in love with racing all over again.
I couldn’t be happier. Last time he raced off a winter lay he put forth what may be his best effort to date (and was definitely my favourite race of his so far!) in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (GII).
What will he do after this lay? No one knows. However, I have full confidence that he would not be brought back if his connections did not think he could train back into the excellent form he showed at three and four. I cannot wait to see what he does next, and I could not be more grateful that I will get to see him again.
Also? I need to see if it is feasible to make a pilgrimage to Aiken this winter.