Team Valor International’s Animal Kingdom , winner of last year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), breezed five furlongs in 1:01.05 at Palm Meadows Feb. 8 in preparation for his 4-year-old debut in the Tampa Bay Stakes (gr. IIIT) on grass Feb. 25.
Trainer Graham Motion said the son of Leroidesanimaux actually worked six furlongs in 1:14, but was credited with a five-furlong work.
“Everything went really well,” Motion said. “We got lucky with the rain; they were nice enough to let us go out there. Knock on wood everything is going so smoothly I’m almost afraid to talk about it. The Tampa Bay Stakes gives us five weeks to the Dubai World Cup, so it’s a very logical spot.”
Team Valor president Barry Irwin was more effusive.
"Animal Kingdom went five-eighths on a rain-softened course with the dogs out about 4 to 5 horse widths," Irwin said. "Badleroibrown, a horse that had never been outworked until he breezed last week with Animal Kingdom, again was the workmate. He broke off nine lengths in front of Animal Kingdom, who made up the deficit by the time the pair straightened out for home. Animal Kingdom was under snug restraint from the top of the lane to the finish, coming in half a length to the good.
"The fractions we got were :23 2/5, :36-flat, 1:00 4/5. He went out three-quarters in 1:14 1/5. The course was wet and has standing water on the bends."
Added Irwin: "In each of his works he has eaten his workmates alive no matter how many lengths he has been given to make up, including one work where he made up all but one of 14 lengths. He is training like a wild horse. He really turns it on coming into the final bend. Last time he went the last quarter in :22.93. He is going great guns."
Motion also sent out last year’s Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Toby's Corner for a five-furlong work in 1:01 3/5.
“They both have been in training since Christmas and I couldn’t ask them to be doing any better,” Motion said.