It was just over a month ago that top four year old and Kentucky Derby veteran Palace Malice was retired due to injury. Now his connections are revisiting that decision and Palace Malice may soon be on the comeback trail.
Aiken, SC based Dogwood Stables owns Palace Malice and originally made the decision to retire the horse and test the market of breeding entities. Dogwood President Cot Campbell says that his horse immediately received interest for his stud services but they didn’t expect what he called “a somewhat unexpected and unique offer”.
That offer came from Kentucky’s Three Chimneys Farm which worked out a rather unorthodox arrangement. They purchased half interest in Palace Malice now and will buy the rest when his racing career comes to an end. Until then, Dogwood will continue owning 50% of his interest as long as he continues racing. The horse will run under the Dogwood Stable colors for a joint entity called Three Chimneys Farm/Dogwood Stable.
Palace Malice was diagnosed with a bone bruise on his left hind cannon bone immediately after the Whitney Invitational. With his 2014 season essentially over the decision was made to retire him to stud mainly due to market timing. Explains Campbell: “Selling now would give (the buyer) plenty of time to make arrangements for the (spring) breeding season.”
Enter Three Chimneys and their offer. The original diagnosis was that Palace Malice’s injury would heal within 60 to 90 days. Assuming that he heals soundly he’ll return to racing if he passes a physical examination from a group of veterinarians in November. If all is well it’s back to the races of which Campbell says: “this could be the best of both worlds. You know we love to race.”
The move is not without risk–estimates indicate that Three Chimneys could be passing on as much as $3 million in breeding fees next year but as one horseman noted: “if he keeps winning prices keep going up in the future”. That’s the plan for now–Dogwood gets to stay in the racing game with one of their best ever horses and Three Chimneys gets to (hopefully) watch his value as a stud horse increase during his five year old season.