Dogwood Stable's Palace Malice breezed a co-bullet five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 at South Florida's Palm Meadows Training Center Sunday morning in preparation for his upcoming appearance in Saturday's Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. The Todd Pletcher trainee worked in company with highly-regarded stablemate Violence, who posted the exact same time ahead of Saturday's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park.
Palace Malice's move has Dogwood President Cot Campbell looking ebulliently forward to the final local prep for the 100th running of the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby March 30.
"I'm a New Orleans boy -- I was born there and it's going to be great coming back there," said Campbell, speaking from his South Carolina headquarters. "I also came back there in the early '50s to work for an advertising agency there, but I haven't been back for a few years now. We'll have about seven people in our party besides me and we'll be getting in Friday morning. It's a wonderful town with a wonderful race track and a lot of wonderful people live there.
"We're starting to get into a very exciting time of year," Campbell said. "With all the Kentucky Derby preps coming up around the country everybody in the nation starts to get interested in horse racing and I think that's a wonderful thing for our sport.
"(Palace Malice) worked quite well this morning and he's been doing well lately. I know Todd seemed very pleased with the work, so the horse appears to be very much on target for this race. He'll have to be if we're going to have the points we need to continue on the Derby trail.
"This will be his first quest at a mile and a sixteenth," Campbell added. "In his last race at Gulfstream he caught a sloppy track, and the horse that beat us was quite a speed horse (Fountain of Youth-bound Majestic Hussar), but (Palace Malice) galloped out well that day, and he looks to me like a horse that wants to go long.
"Lastly, of course, I should say that we're tickled to death to have Rosie (Napravnik) to ride him," Campbell concluded in reference to Fair Grounds' current leading rider and two-time defending jockey champion. "How far in front is she in the rider standings now, anyway? Yes, I can say we're definitely looking forward to our trip down there this weekend."
Normandy Invasion, the near-misser in last fall's Grade 2 Remsen, likewise completed his Risen Star preparations at Palm Meadows Sunday. The Chad Brown pupil zipped a half-mile in :47 4/5, tying with older stablemate Hyper for the second-fastest of 74 trials the trip. Hyper will also make the trip to New Orleans for Saturday's Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap at about 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Bob Baffert's Risen Star runner, Code West, worked at his Santa Anita base on Sunday, covering four furlongs in :48 2/5.
Also expected to ship in from Southern California is the Doug O'Neill-trained He's Had Enough, most recently third to Flashback in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita.
Three Risen Star candidates appeared on the Fair Grounds worktab on Saturday.
Ive Struck a Nerve, fourth in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 for trainer Keith Desormeaux, and trainer Al Stall Jr.'s duo of Departing and Sunbean each went a half-mile in :48 2/5.
Others likely to line up in the Risen Star are Lecomte romper Oxbow (trained by D. Wayne Lukas), Lecomte runner-up Golden Soul (Dallas Stewart), Agent (Amy McAnally), Bethel (Gennadi Dorochenko), Circle Unbroken (Garry Simms), Mylute (Tom Amoss) and Proud Strike (Steve Asmussen).