Dogwood Stable's 2013 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Palace Malice will shoot for his second win of the season in the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) March 29 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
After closing last season with an unplaced finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), the 4-year-old son of Curlin posted a game head win over Golden Ticket in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) March 8 in his 2014 debut under jockey John Velazquez.
For the 1 1/8-mile New Orleans Handicap, Palace Malice will be reunited with jockey Mike Smith, who rode him to victories last season in the Belmont and Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II).
"Todd Pletcher reports that he recovered quickly from a courageous effort (in the Gulfstream Park Handicap) in which he was headed and then fought back to win the mile race in near track record time," Dogwood president Cot Campbell said in a release. "The next race options are best suited by the Fair Grounds race. He has run there twice. He is an easy shipper and we reunite with a rider who knows him well."
Palace Malice's two previous starts at the New Orleans track came last year when he was third in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) and seventh in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II). Overall, the bay colt has a 4-4-1 record from 13 career starts and $1,631,135 in earnings.
Shipping plans call for the colt to arrive in New Orleans on March 26.
Campbell said he and Pletcher have discussed a tentative schedule of nine or 10 races for Palace Malice in 2014. Following the Breeders' Cup, the colt spent two months in winter quarters at Dogwood's Aiken, S.C., base and was sent to Pletcher at Palm Meadows in early January.