Mr Palmer had the highest Beyer speed figure of nine 3-year-olds who went to the gate for the $100,000 Private Terms Stakes March 9 at Laurel Park, and the favorite prevailed when he closed with a strong late run to take the 1 1/8-mile test by 3 1/2 lengths (VIDEO).
The sophomore son of the late Pulpit shipped in for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott off a maiden win Feb. 17 at Aqueduct Racetrack, for which he earned an 86 Beyer, to get the victory for owners and breeders Michael Lauffer and Gregory McDonald under jockey Junior Alvarado.
According to Lauffer, Mr Palmer earned a shot at the Triple Crown trail.
"You've got to get excited about these 3-year-olds at this time of the year, and we're going to put him on the Derby and Preakness trail if he's good enough," Lauffer said.
Mr Palmer broke a step slow and trailed the field as Alvarado allowed him to settle into a good stalking rhythm. The pace was set by Lunar Rock, who cruised along through opening fractions of :24.56 and :49.30 while followed by Where's Dominic and Battier.
After going three-quarters in 1:13.71, Lunar Rock yielded the lead to Battier—but Mr Palmer was coming with a strong rally on the outside.
"He broke a couple steps slow but I wasn't worried, I just tried to find a clean trip for him," Alvarado said. "At the quarter pole I had to move a little bit wide, and there were a lot of horses to the inside. But he has so much class, when I asked him to run he just took off."
Mr Palmer steadily picked off horses and took the lead with a furlong to go, running a mile in 1:38.82 and increasing his advantage to the line for a final time of 1:51.35. Battier was second and Seventeenohsix third. Following were Where's Dominic, Dynamic Strike, Tru Greek, Hanky Doodle, Arrive, and Lunar Rock.
Off at odds of 9-5, Mr Palmer returned $5.60, $4, and $3.60. Battier paid $12 and $6.60 at 19-1, while 8-1 shot Seventeenohsix brought $6.80.
Mr Palmer, bred in Kentucky out of the Quiet American mare In Truth by Mike Lauffer, James Lauffer, and McDonald, improved his career record to 2-1-1 from seven starts with earnings of $119,331.
"He's getting better with every race," Lauffer said. "He finally woke up, he loves the distance, and he's a horse that gives you everything he's got."