Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom soon on way to Dubai

Animal Kingdom the day after his Derby win

Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom will soon be on his way to Dubai to race in the Dubai World Cup on March 30.  The Dubai World Cup on Saturday, March 30th, will conclude with a special solo performance by the highly-acclaimed international recording artist, Seal.

The nine race Dubai World Cup program is the richest race day in the world and carries a combined prize purse of $27,250 million. The action gets underway at 4:30pm with the Purebred Arabian Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic, sponsored by Emaar, and comes to a close following the eighteenth running of the $10 million Dubai World Cup at 10:05pm, sponsored by Emirates Airline.

There was some speculation about who would ride Animal Kingdom.  While Trainer Graham Motion at first criticized the ride jockey Joel Rosario gave Animal Kingdom in last month’s Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, Joel Rosario will be in the saddle come Dubai World Cup Day.

“I’ve never been a big believer of taking riders off horses just because they make one mistake,” trainer Graham Motion said. “It’s not a science. Sometimes it takes an experience like that to get to know a horse better. I think all riders are open to making the odd mistake.”

“I’d like to think it gave him a really good, solid race under his belt. He seems like he’s sharper and perhaps a little more focused,” Motion said about Animal Kingdom. “His works since then have been good. I’d like to think that put him right where we wanted him to be.”

After the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, Graham Motion said that his 5-year-old trainee Animal Kingdom is “angry and hungry” after losing to Point of Entry.

Animal Kingdom is owned by Team Valor and was the 4-5 favorite in the race but lost by 1 1/4-lengths.  It was Animal Kingdom’s first start of the year after finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

“I thought it was a good run. I think Joel (jockey Joel Rosario) was worried the speed was a little slow, so he moved a little early, which cost us the race,” Motion said after the race. “It gave Point of Entry a chance to follow him. He was beaten by a very good horse under awkward circumstances.

Animal Kingdom was foaled in Kentucky on March 20, 2008 by the Brazilian bred Leroidesanimaux out of the German mare Dalicia.  He won the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2011 before a record crowd of 164,858.  Animal Kingdom has raced at multiple tracks and on turf, dirt, and synthetic surfaces.

In 2012 Animal Kingdom was scheduled to run in the Dubai World Cup but on Saturday, March 10, 2012, he “breezed” 5 furlongs in 1:04.80 over the turf at Palm Meadows Training Center. The next morning, trainer Graham Motion said he was lame in his left hind and that he would not be going to Dubai.

Stay healthy and Good Luck in Dubai, we are rooting for you!