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Palace Malice captures Belmont

The SportsXchange

Palace Malice -- one of the five Todd Pletcher trained 3-year-olds -- took over down the homestretch and won Saturday's 145th running of the Belmont Stakes at Elmont, N.Y.

With Mike Smith up, Palace Malice cruised to the lead at the final turn and outdueled Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Preakness winner Oxbow down the stretch.

Oxbow finished second, 3 1/4 lengths back. Orb finished in third.

The victory was Smith's second at the Belmont, the first coming 23 years ago. "It's incredible," he told USA Today.

Rain on Friday was expected to make the track a sloppy mess, but by post time, the track was dry and considered fast.

"The whole time he was just enjoying the trip," the Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith told NBC. "He was full of run turning for home."

Palace Malice finished 12th in the Derby but did not run in the Preakness. He was the seventh horse to run in the Derby, then skip the Preakness, and win the Belmont Stakes.

"I was moving better than him at the three-eighths pole and like a big brother talking to a little brother he said, 'You go on with it,'" Smith, 47, said of his fellow Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, 50, who was aboard Oxbow.

Palace Malice had only one career victory before Saturday, went off at 13-1 and paid $29.60 on a $2 bet to win.

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