Graham Motion, trainer of Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Animal Kingdom , decided after walking the course this week that the Royal Ascot meeting's opening race over a mile will be the Kentucky-bred's target in his career finale June 18.
"We had discussed the possibility of either the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) or the Prince of Wales's Stakes (Eng-I)," said Motion, a native of Cambridge, England. "But after walking the course, I feel the mile in the Queen Anne will afford our horse plenty of ground. We had only considered the other race because it is run over the same mile-and-a-quarter distance as the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and World Cup.
"The owners (Arrowfield Stud, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, and Team Valor International) prefer a credential for the horse at a mile and I think the uphill nature of the Ascot course will be a stiff enough test to allow his stamina to come into play," Motion said.
"The mile at Ascot is closer to a mile-and-an-eighth race in America because of the layout and if Animal Kingdom were racing in America at this time, we probably would be running him over that distance. The Queen Anne also fits nicely into my training schedule for Animal Kingdom since we freshened him up after his trip to Dubai."
Animal Kingdom has won both of his outings over a mile and a quarter. At a mile, he finished second to Wise Dan in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) in his first start in eight months.