Palace Faces Distance Issue in General George
The 5-year-old son of City Zip —Receivership, by End Sweep will look to break a two-racing losing streak, both second-place finishes, when he squares off against eight opponents in the seven-furlong race. The Presidents' Day headliner is race 9 on the Monday program with a 4:24 p.m. EST post time.
Prior to his most recent defeats, the Linda Rice-trained horse rattled off three straight victories, including a powerful score in the Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. III) under 129 pounds. Palace’s trademark is his consistency, finishing in the money in 14 of his 16 career starts.
The big question mark will be the seven furlongs, a distance he has yet to travel. But the way he was drawing clear in the Fall Highweight, that wouldn’t seem to be a problem.
Regular rider Cornelio Velasquez will again be aboard and they will break from post 6 under top weight of 120 pounds, conceding four to eight pounds to the rest of the field.
If Palace is going to be upset, you can take your pick among the others. Form-wise, Broad Rule and Service For Ten are coming off a one-two finish, respectively, in the Fire Plug Stakes over the Laurel surface. The latter has also captured the Dave’s Friend Stakes at Laurel and finished second in the 1 1/8-mile John B. Campbell only to be disqualified to third. He will break from post 4 for trainer Emanuel Geralis.
Broad Rule also won the 2013 Fire Plug and was fourth in last year’s General George to Javerre, who is back again this year after an unsuccessful stretch-out in the Jan. 25 Native Dancer Stakes. He has not won since the General George, but was second, beaten a neck in the Teddy Drone Stakes at Monmouth Park.
One horse who is in form now is the David Jacobson shipper from New York, Tenango, who is coming off a neck victory in an allowance/optional claimer at Aqueduct Racetrack. The son of Lion Heart will break from the outside post under a feathery 112 pounds, a six-pound drop from his last race.
Also in the field is Warrioroftheroses, third in the Fire Plug before finishing fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Native Dancer. He led until the eighth pole last time, so he could be dangerous dropping back to seven furlongs. He drew the rail and also carries 112 pounds, eight pounds less than the Native Dancer.
Smash and Grab is coming off back-to-back victories at Laurel in allowance/optional claimers, so the son of Sharp Humor is in top form and has been a gem of consistency.
$250,000 General George Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 4:24 p.m.), 3 & Up, 7 Furlongs
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