Animal Kingdom will return to action in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita
on November 3 with a chance to become the first Kentucky Derby winner to go on
to Breeders Cup glory since Unbridled in 1990.
The champion three-year-old male of 2011 scored an easy turf win on February
18 at Gulfstream Park in his only start this year. He developed a stress
fracture of the illium three weeks later that knocked him out of the Group 1
Dubai World Cup. The injury did not require surgery and healed with 30 days of
Animal Kingdom resumed training in June and began breezing on August 21. Over
the summer, trainer Graham Motion suggested the Mile as a viable option if
the four-year-old colt encountered no setbacks. Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin
agreed, but he and Motion decided to not reveal the plan until Animal
Kingdom showed in his training that the race was a reasonable goal.
"Coming off the layoff, the Mile just seems very logical for him," said
Motion, who captured the Breeders' Cup Turf in 2004 with Better Talk Now and
Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf with Shared Account in 2010. "He certainly has
the turn of foot to handle it. The timing is right for his schedule coming back,
and the caliber of horse that he is, you're not going to look for a nice, easy
"It's a totally different situation than last winter when we ran him in the
Gulfstream allowance to get ready for the Dubai World Cup. Going a mile, we feel
he should be very fit for this race, and he deserves the opportunity."