Thursday, September 25, 2014

Palace seeks more riches in G1 Vosburgh

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Contact: Jon Forbes


Palace seeks more riches in G1 Vosburgh


ELMONT, N.Y. - One year after stamping himself as the top New York-bred male sprinter, Palace will attempt to cement his status as the top sprinter in the country on TVG Super Saturday in the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh at Belmont Park.


The six-furlong Vosburgh for 3-year-olds and up is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" race in the Sprint division.


Palace, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, is trained by Linda Rice for owner Antonino Miuccio. The tandem claimed the son of City Zip for $20,000 in October 2012.


In 2013, Palace defeated New York-breds in the Chowder's First and Hudson Handicap and open company in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight en route to state-bred championship honors.


This year, Palace has taken down even larger prizes, having garnered the Grade 2 True North in June at Belmont before capturing Saratoga Race Course's Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on August 2 and Grade 1 Forego on August 30.


Between the True North and Vanderbilt, Palace, a 5-year-old, was second, beaten 6 ¼ lengths by Clearly Now, in the Grade 3 Belmont Sprint Championship in July.


In the six-furlong Vanderbilt, Palace drew post position 1 and stalked the pace as Happy My Way raced on a clear lead. Palace angled off the rail turning for home, then gradually reeled in Happy My Way to prevail by one length.


Although Rice originally planned to wait for the Vosburgh with Palace, he emerged from the Vanderbilt in great form, prompting the trainer to take a shot at the Forego. The race was contested at seven furlongs, which she thought might be beyond his best distance, but Palace took advantage of the opportunity by winning by 3 ½ lengths.


As in the Vanderbilt, Palace will leave from post 1 in the Vosburgh and will face Happy My Way, who skipped the Forego. Rice hopes Palace will once again be able to work out a winning trip under regular rider Cornelio Velasquez.


"Unlike the Vanderbilt where the favorite was the lone speed, there is other speed in the [Vosburgh]," said Rice. "Sometimes, there is a lot of speed [on paper] and nobody goes. We'll have to see how it unfolds. The No. 1 hole can make anybody nervous, but he has won from the No. 1 hole before."


Happy My Way, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Mel Paikoff and Sagamore Farm, went off as the 8-5 favorite in the Vanderbilt, having won three straight races and four of his previous five. In his two starts prior to the Vanderbilt, he took the Sir Shackleton in March at Gulfstream and Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap in May at Pimlico, both by 5 ¾ lengths.


The Vanderbilt was Happy My Way's first start in 11 weeks.


"Going into the [Vanderbilt], I had given him a little break," said trainer Joe Orseno. "If he was going to be a Breeders' Cup horse, he was going to need a break at some point. I chose to do it then. He now has a race under his belt, and he'll be a lot more ready."


Happy My Way, the 3-1 morning-line second choice, will leave from post 6 with Joe Bravo aboard.


Returning to defend his Vosburgh title is Private Zone, who prevailed by a neck one year ago. He concluded his 2013 campaign by finishing 10th in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint and second in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap. In one start this year, Private Zone was fourth in the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap on September 1 at Parx Racing.


In the five-furlong Turf Monster, Private Zone's grass debut, the 5-year-old gelding found himself out-sprinted in eighth early before producing a mild late run.


On Saturday, Private Zone will be making his first start for trainer Alfredo Velazquez, who hopes the stretch out in distance from five furlongs to six will be beneficial to his entrant.


"I don't think he was all that happy being in post 1 [in the Turf Monster], and he got pinched a little," said Velazquez. "We think three-quarters is a better distance for him [than five-eighths]."


Martin Pedroza will ride Private Zone, the 7-2 third choice, from post 7.


"We've been working him with another horse and starting two or three lengths behind and having him finish strong," said Velazquez. "We're very happy we've drawn outside the other speed."


The lone 3-year-old entered in the Vosburgh is Coup de Grace, who at Saratoga won the Grade 2 Amsterdam by three lengths in July before finishing third, beaten 1 ¾ lengths, in the Grade 1 Ketel One King's Bishop on August 23.


Coupe de Grace, 8-1, will be ridden by Kerwin Clark from post 2.


The field also includes Zee Bros, seventh in the Forego; Salutos Amigos, third in the True North and Belmont Sprint Championship before finishing second in an optional claimer on August 31 at Saratoga; Dads Caps, who won the Grade 1 Carter Handicap in April and was last seen finishing second in an off-the-turf edition of the Troy Stakes on August 13; and Ribo Bobo, a seven-time stakes winner who most recently was third in the Teddy Drone on July 27.


The field for the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh:








Palace (NY)

C H. Velasquez


L Rice



Coup de Grace (KY)

K D. Clark


J Larry Jones



Zee Bros (KY)

J Rosario


D Wayne Lukas



Salutos Amigos (KY)

I Ortiz, Jr.


D Jacobson



Dads Caps (KY)

J Castellano


R R. Rodriguez



Happy My Way (FL)

J Bravo


J F. Orseno



Private Zone (ON)

M A. Pedroza


A Velazquez



Ribo Bobo (FL)

P Lopez


J Servis




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