Saturday, June 8, 2013
AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- A month ago, Aiken was hoping to celebrate the beginning of a Triple Crown run when Palace Malice saddled up for the Kentucky Derby.
That day he provided a thrill, but no win. Little did we know, the best was yet to come.
"My wife and I were jumping up and down like a couple kids," Aikenite Leighton McLendon said. "I mean, it was great fun for us. It was great theater. I mean, if somebody had seen us, they'd say, 'Those people have gone crazy."
That was the scene in the McLendon household and likely many others in Aiken tonight, and Dogwood Stable owner Cot Campbell knew it all the way from Belmont Park.
Shortly after Palace Malice ran the race of his career, Campbell predicted they were "dancing in the streets of Aiken."
What he may not have realized was it wasn't all about the horse.
"I'm just ecstatic for Cot and Ann Campbell, two great, great ambassadors for Aiken," McLendon said.
At 85 years old, Campbell has been chasing the three jewels of the Triple Crown for a very long time.
He checked off the Preakness 23 years ago. Now it's the Belmont with a horse that the city is proud to call its own.
"Palace Malice is Aiken's horse," McLendon said. "I know he belongs to Cot and Dogwood Stable, but everybody's just adopted Palace Malice."
So yes, on this Saturday night, they're dancing in the streets for the dark bay colt ... and even more so the jewel of Aiken's horse racing family, Cot Campbell.