Multiple grade I winner Palace Malice will not run in the May 2 Westchester Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park after a bruise was discovered in his right front foot, Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell confirmed April 30.
The 5-year-old Curlin runner, now owned jointly by Dogwood and Three Chimneys Farm, was scheduled to make his 2015 debut in the Westchester. He came back to training earlier this year after a bone bruise caused his temporary retirement in September of 2014.
"He came out of the stall yesterday and he was off a little bit," Campbell said. "X-rays were made and they found the foot bruise. He couldn't train today and probably won't train tomorrow, and going into the race missing three days would be a pretty stupid thing to do."
Palace Malice, who won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in 2013, was supposed to tangle with 2014 Belmont winner Tonalist in the Westchester.
"We waited this long; we might as well do it right, of course," Campbell said. "We don't really have a choice."
The connections of Palace Malice had mapped out a five-race plan culminating in the Oct. 31 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Keeneland, with the Westchester, which Palace Malice won last year, the first step on the list.
"We will point for the Met Mile," Campbell said, speaking of the June 6 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont, originally the second step in their campaign plan and also a race Palace Malice took in 2014. "I would think he'll be back in training Sunday or Monday and get on with it. The good thing is, he was X-rayed clean and the foot bruise was found and it's pretty minor."
Palace Malice is the winner of six graded stakes, and is Curlin's top earner, with current career earnings of $2,676,135.
Bred in Kentucky by William S. Farish out of the Royal Anthem mare Palace Rumor, he was a $200,000 purchase by Dogwood from the Niall Brennan consignment at the 2012 Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sale, after being pinhooked by Colin Brennan for $25,000 from the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale when consigned by Lane's End.