By Alan Porter
With victories in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) – in which he defeated the winners of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) – and Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) among his six graded stakes triumphs, Palace Malice has strong claims to be regarded as the most versatile top level dirt performer of his crop.
Palace Malice is by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, now emerging as one of America’s most important young sires, and is bred on a very similar cross to hot young sire English Channel.”
Curlin is out of a mare by Deputy Minister, a broodmare sire who worked very well under Curlin’s sire, Smart Strike. Breeding Curlin back over Deputy Minister line mares has proved to work well providing Travers Stakes (gr. I) winner Keen Ice out of a mare by Awesome Again (sire of Ghostzapper), multiple grade one winner Curalina out of a mare by Graeme Hall (by Dehere), and a stakes winner out of a mare by Silver Deputy (sire of Posse). English Channel sired Travers Stakes (gr. I) victor V. E. Day and graded stakes winner Blueskiesandrainbows out of mares by Deputy Minister himself. Other sources of Deputy Minister include Touch Gold, Deputy Commander, Salt Lake and French Deputy.
Another very strong cross for Smart Strike has been with Northern Dancer through Danzig, which for Curlin has supplied stakes winners from daughters of Ascot Knight, Pine Bluff and Foxhound, and for English Channel, a stakes winner out of a mare by Langfuhr. This would also invite daughters of Belong to Me (broodmare sire of Smart Strike’s Champion Lookin At Lucky), Chief’s Crown (sire of Concerto; grandsire of Bellamy Road), Boundary, Dayjur, Honor Grades, Exchange Rate, Hard Spun and War Front.
Curlin has already developed a strong affinity for Storm Cat line mares, including grade two scorer Diversy Harbor and classic placed Ride on Curlin and two other stakes winners out of mares by Storm Cat himself, graded stakes winner Ocean Knight out of a mare by Stormy Atlantic (who should be a particularly good fit), and stakes winner Theogany from a Tale of the Cat mare. There are also Smart Strike stakes winners out of mares by Storm Cat sons Mountain Cat, Storm Creek and Giant’s Causeway (brother to Freud and sire of First Samurai), inviting daughters of such as Tabasco Cat, Forest Wildcat, Berstein, Cat Thief, Forestry, Hennessy (sire of Johannesburg), Sir Cat, Storm Boot and Tactical Cat.
Storm Cat is a son of Storm Bird, and that horse’s genetic relative Nijinsky II has also worked well under Smart Strike, including grade one winner Interpol by English Channel out of a mare by Strawberry Road, stakes winner Ann of the Dance by English Channel out of a mare by Winning, and 2015 classic winner Breaking Lucky out of a mare by Sky Classic (giving inbreeding to the family of Smart Strike). Consider also daughters of Royal Academy (a close relative to Storm Cat), Shadeed, Alydeed, Seattle Dancer and Sword Dance.
Palace Malice is out of mare from the male line of Nureyev, a three-quarters brother to Sadler’s Wells. Combining Nureyev and Sadler’s Wells has often worked well, and the similarly-bred English Channel has sired multiple graded stakes winner Channel Lady out of a mare by Sadler’s Wells son, King of Kings. Other sources of Sadler’s Wells in the U.S. include El Prado, Medaglia d’Oro, Kitten’s Joy, Artie Schiller and Horse Chestnut.
Smart Strike crossed very well with mares by Wild Again (by Northern Dancer’s three-quarters relative, Icecapade), and Curlin has stakes winner Stopshoppingdebbie out of a mare by that horse. Palace Malice could also be tried with mares by Wild Again sons, such as Wild Rush or Milwaukee Brew.
Both Curlin and English Channel have shown an affinity for mares from the line of Seattle Slew. English Channel graded stakes winner Skyring is out of a mare by Seattle Slew himself, and he has multiple graded stakes winner Optimizer out of a mare by A.P. Indy. Curlin’s grade one winner, Stellar Wind, is out of a mare by A.P. Indy son, Malibu Moon, which suggests mares by such as Mineshaft, Pulpit (sire of Sky Mesa, Tapit and Stroll), Congrats, Flatter, Golden Missile, Old Trieste, Jump Start and Stephen Got Even. Curlin’s juvenile grade winner Exaggerator is out of a mare by Seattle Slew son Vindication; his grade two winner Moulin de Mougin is out of a daughter of Avenue of Flags; and two-year-old graded scorer Off the Tracks is out of a mare by Boston Harbor, by Seattle Slew son, Capote.
English Channel’s grade one winner The Pizza Man is out of a mare by Lear Fan (who should be excellent here), a son of Roberto. The Roberto strain might also be introduced through Dynaformer, Silver Hawk and Kris S. (sire of Arch, Prized, You and I and Rock Hard Ten). From Caro line mares, English Channel has sired a graded stakes winner out of a mare by With Approval (sire of Lasting Approval) and English Channel also has a graded winner out of a mare by Cozzene. We can also note that Smart Strike has sired grade one winner Furthest Land from a daughter of Rahy, the same horse being broodmare sire of English Channel’s $2,000,000 winner Parranda.