Palace Malice, winner of the 2013 Belmont Stakes and this year's Grade I Met Mile, has been retired from racing because of a deep bone bruise in his left hind leg, owner Dogwood Stable announced Friday.
Dogwood Stable President Cot Campbell said the 4-year-old son of Curlin underwent an examination at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington on Thursday where the ailment was revealed. Palace Malice was coming off a lackluster sixth-place finish in the Grade I Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 2.
Campbell previously said that nearly a dozen breeding operations had reached out to him to stand Palace Malice at stud. He said the stable is contacting those operations and discussing Palace Malice's future.
Before the Whitney, Palace Malice put forth a 2014 campaign that made him one of the leading handicap horses in the nation.
Never miss a local story.
The bay colt opened his year with a victory in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 8 and came back that same month to capture the Grade II New Orleans Handicap by 43/4 lengths. Following a 93/4-length romp in the Grade III Westchester Stakes on May 11, Palace Malice scored arguably his most impressive victory when he overcame the No. 1 post position and fought past 2013 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents to take the Met Mile by a length at Belmont Park on June 7.
Fittingly, this year's Met Mile was part of the undercard of the Belmont Stakes, which 12 months prior had been Palace Malice's breakout moment. The Todd Pletcher trainee rebounded from a 12th-place run in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and defeated Preakness Stakes hero Oxbow by 31/4 lengths in the final leg of the Triple Crown.
Palace Malice retires with seven wins from 17 career starts and $2,676,135 in earnings. He is stabled at Dr. Robert Copelan's Sunnyside Farm in Paris, Ky.