Trainer Graham Motion was happy with Animal Kingdom ’s first work on the dirt at Churchill Downs April 30.
The colt by Leroidesanimaux is coming into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) off a victory in the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park, which has a Polytrack synthetic surface. Animal Kingdom has only raced on synthetic surfaces or grass.
On Saturday, jockey Robby Albarado worked him six furlongs in 1:13. The splits were :12 2/5, :24 4/5, :37 1/5, and :49 1/5. He galloped out in seven furlongs in 1:26 2/5.
“We wanted to make sure he handled the dirt fine,” Motion said. “I had a suspicion he would be fine, but I didn’t know. A lot of the riders have told me the grass horses seem to handle this surface better. For that reason, I was little more confident than I might have been.”
Albarado told Motion the colt galloped out great, went on when he was asked, and switched leads well.
“There is nothing really to knock about,” Motion said. “He is very good worker. That is why we are here, he is very impressive animal.”
Animal Kingdom is a homebred for Team Valor International.