The minute we start to hear any word about prior Kentucky Derby winners planning on racing, people start looking for Kentucky Derby tickets and thinking about their plans to attend the Kentucky Derby. From the phone and email inquiries we have received recently about our 2012 Kentucky Derby Tour, this year is no exception. We get lots of questions including those about exactly where our Kentucky Derby tickets and seating are and
about all the different behind the scenes tours including our Churchill Downs backside tour during Kentucky Derby week. You can see complete details and photos of prior tours at www.kentuckyderbytours.com
In addition to the start of the Kentucky Derby prep races, we think the Kentucky Derby buzz started because of the rumors that 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom may have his first race of 2012 next month on the grass. If so, it would be the same tactic that launched his 3 year old campaign which lead to his win in the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Graham Motion seems to be planning on using the same successful strategy to get Animal Kingdom geared up for the first major goal of his 4-year-old season, the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 31.
2011 ended with the second official recorded work out for Animal Kingdom since he underwent surgery to repair a slab fracture in his left hind leg, which happened during the Belmont Stakes. He worked a half-mile in 49 seconds in the company of Toby’s Corner at Graham Motion’s year round training headquarters, the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. Yesterday, he breezed four furlongs in :50.40 over the dirt track at the Fair Hill Training Center with Toby’s Corner.
“Animal Kingdom started last year with a mile and one-eighth race on the grass at the beginning of February, and I wouldn’t rule out doing the same thing with him this winter,” Motion said by phone from Fair Hill. “He needs to run in February to make the World Cup, and ideally a race in mid-February would be ideal — something like the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. The Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap is 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 11.
“There’s also a race in Dubai in the middle of February, and I wouldn’t totally rule that out either,” said Motion. Motion said that as long as the weather holds up he plans to work Animal Kingdom and Toby’s Corner next weekend at Fair Hill before shipping them to Palm Meadows in Florida.
“The two of them are pretty much on the same schedule, and I’d like to keep breezing them together, although Animal Kingdom is pretty sharp off that last work and I don’t want either of them getting too racy at this point,” said Motion.