Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom works in Florida

Animal Kingdom walking the shedrow at Churchill Downs

Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom worked today at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida by breezing five furlongs on turf in a quick :59 4/5.  This is the second workout for Animal Kingdom in Florida since winning the 2011 Eclipse Award for 3 year old male.

Animal Kingdom had the fastest work out among the eight horses that worked that distance today. Working with two other horses, Animal Kingdom started at least 10 lengths behind the other horses.  He then joined them just past the wire, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12, according to trainer Graham Motion, who labeled the move as being “perfect.”  Motion said it was not his original intent to have Animal Kingdom break off that far behind his workmates, but in the end he was okay with how it worked out.

“I think that’s David just getting him to relax,” Motion said. “I kind of left it up to him, but I said five or six lengths. David does a really good job on Animal Kingdom; he knows him really well. He’s a little bit tricky, and he’s a little deceiving. In the end, they finished together right after the wire, and he got to gallop out.”  David is David Nava, Animal Kingdom’s exerciser rider.

Animal Kingdom has not raced since his sixth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes last June. A hairline fracture in his left hock was injured and he underwent surgery.  The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner has been working steadily this year in preparation for his comeback following surgery.

Team Valor International President Barry Irwin said the 4-year-old colt is on course for his primary goal, the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 31.  The list of 271 nominees for the $10 million Dubai World Cup was released today.  It features some of racing’s current and rising stars and a number of trainers who have previously won the world’s richest race.

2012 will be the 17th renewal of the famed event as part of the nine-race program valued at $27.25 million. The 2,000-meter (9.94-furlong) all-weather race has attracted horses representing 12 countries.

In addition to Animal Kingdom, the all-star list of nominees includes two other horses that earned Eclipse Awards in the United States:  Acclamation, champion older male; and Royal Delta, champion three-year-old filly.

Eight of the 11 trainers to have won the Dubai World Cup are represented by nominees: Saeed bin Suroor, Bob Baffert, Richard Mandella, Bill Mott, Dale Romans, Eoin Harty, Katsuhiko Sumii, and Kiaran McLaughlin.

Animal Kingdom may race in the Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes at Gulfstream Park on February 11.