Palace Malice leads poll heading into Whitney

07/28/2014 2:30 PM

07/28/2014 2:38 PM

New York, NY ( - Palace Malice, undefeated in four starts this season, tops the NTRA Thoroughbred Poll going into Saturday's Whitney Invitational at Saratoga.

Owned by Dogwood Stable, Palace Malice received 32 first-place votes from the 38 cast and has 373 points for a 50-point lead. The 4-year-old colt, trained by Todd Pletcher, is expected to be favored for the 1 1/8-mile Whitney.

"It's a huge race," Pletcher said. "The horse is doing fantastic. He's off to a great start this year, and we're just hoping for more of the same from him. He's been super consistent and impressive. We know he likes Saratoga from the way he ran here the last two years, so we're excited about the Whitney."

Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan is back in training at Saratoga and is probable to start in the coming weeks. Trained by Charlie LoPresti for Morton Fink, Wise Dan has five top votes and 323 points for second behind Palace Malice.

"I'm not trying to set him down to make the Fourstardave," said LoPresti. "If he just jumps up and is dragging us around and acting like he has to run, we'll run. If he doesn't run in the Fourstardave (Aug. 9), maybe he'll run in the Bernard Baruch (Aug. 30). He's been through a lot. I'm sure there will be people that say, 'That wasn't one of his blistering works, he's not the old Wise Dan.' He had colic surgery nine weeks ago; I wouldn't want him to do something like that, and I wouldn't make him do something like that."

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome is third with a single first-place vote and 283 points.

Leading older female Close Hatches is fourth with 200 points followed by Game On Dude (132), Haskell winner Bayern (126), Shared Belief (109), Jim Dandy champ Wicked Strong (98), 3-year-old filly Untapable (85) and Lea (71).

The National Poll continues through the Breeders' Cup on Nov. 1.

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