Palazzi, Excess Magic (pictured), Dyn O Mite Meet Again in Black Gold

Palazzi, Excess Magic, Dyn O Mite Meet Again in Black Gold

Talented 3-Year-Olds Exit Blanket Finish in Texas Turf Mile

New Orleans (February 24, 2021) – Any lightly raced 3-year-old hoping for a soft spot to try stakes foes won’t find what they’re looking for in Saturday’s $75,000 Black Gold at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Run at about 1 1/16 miles over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, the Black Gold came up extremely tough, and is led by Palazzi, Excess Magic, and Dyn O Mite, the 1-2-3 in a photo-finishers in the January 31 Texas Turf Mile at Sam Houston.

John Oxley’s Palazzi (post 6 as the 7-2 favorite on Mike Diliberto’s morning line with Declan Carroll to ride) delivered another strong stretch run and got his nose on the line first in the $200,000 Texas Turf Mile. The son of Pioneerof the Nile has been a new horse since trainer Mark Casse sent him on the turf two starts back, as he broke his maiden over the local course in December before testing stakes company at Sam Houston. Palazzi also raced with blinkers-on for the first time in his turf debut, and Casse’s assistant David Carroll, who oversees the New Orleans division, finally saw a new horse.

“We’ve always liked the colt and were a little disappointed with him in his races,” Carroll said. “Certainly, the combination of blinkers-on and turf turned him around and allowed him to run the way we thought he was capable of doing. His maiden race was a big race and that was like ‘Wow, that was the horse we always saw in the morning.’”

Palazzi hit the road for the Texas Turf Mile and backed up his maiden win, once against closing stoutly late, this time against much better competition. With the top-3 coming back, and some strong new shooters as well, Carroll knows the difference between victory and defeat is very thin, much like it was at Sam Houston.

“It was one of those races where we thought he got beat,” Carroll admitted. “You run that race again, with the first three all back Saturday, and it could be a different result. He’s got a big kick and he showed it at Sam Houston. Bret’s horse (Excess Magic) and the third-place finisher (Dyn O Mite) are both very nice horses, and there are some nice new ones as well. It will come down to trip and a little luck.”

William Reed’s homebred Excess Magic (post 3 at 4-1 with Miguel Mena) lost an gut-wrenching photo at Sam Houston and he’s once again likely to be in front of Palazzi early. The son of Magician (Ire) has been a gem of consistency for trainer Bret Calhoun, as he’s never finished out of the exacta in four turf starts and he won an optional-claimer by 4 lengths over the Stall-Wilson two-back in January. The pace at Sam Houston was quick and Excess Magic was just 1 ¼ lengths off a 46 4/5 half-mile, which Calhoun felt could have been the difference in what was a real thriller.

“It was a brutal beat,” Calhoun said. “I actually thought we got our nose in front at the wire. The pace scenario was a little quicker and we stayed a little closer and I think it took a little of our punch out. He didn’t show as much turn of foot over there as he did over here, though he was facing better horses as well.”

Brad Allshouse’s Dyn O Mite (post 9 at 6-1 with James Graham) was beaten just a nose and a neck for all the money at Sam Houston after dueling early. The son of Goldencents figures to be involved throughout from his wide draw and has proven plenty versatile for trainer Keith Desormeaux, as he won an off-the-turf optional-claimer here in December. Dyn O Mite is 2-for-8 lifetime and will look to prove his 23-1 run at Sam Houston was no fluke.

Lookin for Loki (post 1 at 12-1 with Mitchell Murrill) could set the pace from the inside, as he drew the rail and has never run past 6 ½ furlongs while showing plenty of sprint speed in the past. The son of Into Mischief was up on the line to win a local optional-claimer at 5 ½ furlongs on the turf two-back then won the same condition in the slop last time. Lookin for Loki chased a 45 2/5 half-mile in his turf win, therefore an alert beginning could see him in front.

Trainer Brad Cox could start as many as four in the Black Gold, with Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Fulsome (post 5 at 5-1 with Colby Hernandez) the most fancied. The son of Into Mischief broke his maiden over the course January 16 in his third career start when blinkers were added and should be an early presence. Steve Landers Racing’s Royal Prince (post 2 at 6-1 with Brian Hernandez Jr.) was third behind Excess Magic in the January 3 allowance and the son of Cairo Prince has a hint of class in him, as he was beaten just 2 ¾ lengths when seventh in Del Mar’s Cecil B. DeMille (G3) in November. Cox also has Madaket Stables, Wonder Stable, Paul Farr, and Team Hanley’s T D Dance (post 4 at 8-1 with Shaun Bridgmohan), a son of Can the Man who on debut over the turf at Indiana Grand in October and was second to Dyn O Mite on the main track in December, and Bob LaPenta’s Kinetic Sky (post 8 at 5-1 with Marcelino Pedroza), a son of Runhappy who was an easy maiden winner here January 24 but has yet to run on turf, and is also entered in the February 26 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park.

Godolphin’s homebred Ghostlighter (post 8 at 12-1 with Adam Beschizza) is 1-for-3 lifetime for trainer Brandan Walsh and the son of Ghostzapper was fifth on debut at Churchill Downs in October, in what was his lone turf start.