Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado comes to Fair Grounds for the first time this season to ride Palace Malice in the 100th anniversary edition of the $1 million Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 30.
Prado rode Courtlandt Farms’ Machen to a fifth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby two years ago. Earlier that afternoon, he won the Mervin H. Muniz Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) aboard Augustin Stables’ Smart Bid for trainer Graham Motion.
Prado was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame at Saratoga in 2008. Two years earlier, he rode Lael Stable’s legendary Barbaro to victory in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Prado was later voted North America’s Eclipse Award-winning jockey that season.
Dogwood Stable’s 3-year-old Palace Malice, conditioned by five-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, finished third in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 23 as the final prep for the Louisiana Derby last month with Rosie Napravnik aboard.
"Edgar once suffered a broken leg while riding a horse of ours named Admiral Bird," Dogwood president Cot Campbell said March 8, speaking over the phone from the farm’s headquarters in Aiken, S.C. "We’ve always felt bad about that, but maybe we can make it up to him if Palace Malice wins the Louisiana Derby."
Palace Malice is winless in two starts this year, also finishing second in an allowance/optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park Jan. 19. The son of Curlin out of the Royal Anthem mare Palace Rumor, bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish, has a 1-2-1 record in four lifetime starts with earnings of $111,135. The bay colt will be seeking his first stakes victory in the Louisiana Derby.
"Our horse is doing great," said Campbell. "He’s been getting a little gate schooling lately because he was somewhat of a reluctant load at Fair Grounds last month and also at Saratoga last summer. I think the plan Todd has right now for him is to breeze him a half (at the Palm Meadows Training Center) on Sunday (March 10) and then next Sunday go five-eighths with Edgar aboard.
"Edgar has ridden a lot for us over the years," said Campbell. "He’s not only a Hall of Fame jockey but he’s also a tremendous gentleman and has always represented the kinds of things that are good about our sport."