Palace Malice wins Met Mile

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NEW YORK (AP) - Palace Malice, last year’s Belmont Stakes winner, won the $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap on Saturday at Belmont Park.

The $1.5 million Belmont Stakes topped the richest day in New York racing.

Total purses for the 13-race card were $8 million, including four stakes worth at least $1 million.

Palace Malice, a 4-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher, drove through an opening on the rail to beat a determined Goldencents, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner, by a length.

John Velazquez was aboard as Palace Malice continued his emergence as a leader in the older horse division.

“It’s pretty extraordinary to have a horse win the Belmont and come back a year later to win the Met Mile,” Pletcher said.

Palace Malice is 4 for 4 on the season and the latest victory was his sternest test so far. The race, the premier event on the undercard, attracted a deep and talented field of 12.

Palace Malice paid $4.70 to win. The time was 1:33.56.

The $1 million Ogden Phipps for fillies and mares drew only six runners yet it produced a thrilling finish as Close Hatches held off Princess of Sylmar by a head. It was the fifth win in the last six races for the 4-year-old trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Joel Rosario.

The lone loss in that span was a second-place finish to Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November. Beholder ran fourth in the Phipps.

Close Hatches paid $7.80 to win. The time was 1:40.55 for 1 1/16 miles.

Real Solution beat Kaigun by 1 1/4 lengths in the $1 million Manhattan on the turf. The winner of last year’s Arlington Million on a disqualification, Real Solution improved to 5 for 13. Javier Castellano rode for trainer Chad Brown as Real Solution paid $13 to win. The time was 1:59.27 for 1 1/4 miles.

Sweet Reason pulled a 9-1 upset in the $750,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies, beating Sweet Whiskey pay a half-length with Irad Ortiz Jr. riding for Leah Gyarmati.

She paid $20.80 to win. The time was 1:34.98 for a mile.

My Miss Sophia, the 4-5 favorite, finished seventh.

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