Animal Kingdom Arrives at Belmont Park

Animal Kingdom Arrives at Belmont Park
Photo: Rick Samuels
Animal Kingdom gets acquainted with Belmont Park on June 5.
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Animal Kingdom   arrived at Belmont Park at approximately 7:30 a.m. (ET) June 5 to prepare for the June 11, $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

The 3-year-old son of Leroidesanimaux, who won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and finished second in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) for trainer Graham Motion, walked the shedrow several times before being led to his stall in the barn of trainer David Donk. According to the New York Racing Association communications office, the colt was scheduled to gallop on the main track later the morning of June 5 and will have his final pre-race workout on Monday, June 6.

“He looked great and shipped fine, cool as a cucumber as usual,” said David Rock, Motion’s assistant. “He is a very laid-back horse so we wouldn’t expect anything else, really. We are excited for the Belmont. You gotta be here. If you are doing good you’re here. Unfortunately we didn’t win the last one, but we’re looking forward to a rematch (with Shackleford) and there are some other real horses in the race as well.”

Owned by Team Valor International, Animal Kingdom is seeking to become just the 12th horse in history to complete the Derby-Belmont double, a feat last accomplished by Thunder Gulch (1995), Swale (1984), Bold Forbes (1976), Riva Ridge (1972), Chateaugay (1963), Needles (1956), Middleground (1950), Shut Out (1942), Johnstown (1939), Twenty Grand (1931), and Zev (1923) were the only others to win the first and last races in the Triple Crown.

The 1 1/2-mile Belmont, which will be run for the 143rd time as the oldest and longest leg of the series, will feature a rematch between Animal Kingdom and Preakness winner Shackleford  . If both horses start, it will mark the 22nd time in the history of the Triple Crown that the Derby and Preakness winners have squared off in the Belmont.

Animal Kingdom has earned $1,938,700 and is 3-3-0 in six lifetime starts.

Among the others under consideration for the Belmont, which has a maximum field of 16, are Brilliant Speed  , seventh in the Kentucky Derby; Harlan's Hello, winner of an optional claimer at Belmont; Isn't He Perfect, ninth in the Preakness; Master of Hounds, fifth in the Derby; Monzon, sixth in the Peter Pan (gr. II); Mucho Macho Man  , third in the Derby and sixth in the Preakness; Derby runner-up Nehro; Prime Cut, third in the Peter Pan; Ruler On Ice, second in the Frederico Tesio at Pimlico; Santiva  , sixth in the Derby; and Stay Thirsty  , 12th in the Derby.

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