10/02/2012 12:07PM

Animal Kingdom to make return in Breeders' Cup Mile

Barbara D. Livingston
Animal Kingdom has made only one start since running in the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, will make his first start since February in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, his connections announced Tuesday.

Animal Kingdom was being pointed to the Dubai World Cup this past winter when, in March, he developed a stress fracture of the ilium, a bone in the pelvis. The injury healed, Team Valor Stables reported, with 30 days of stall rest, and Animal Kingdom went back into training in June. He has worked steadily in recent weeks at trainer Graham Motion’s base at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland, breezing six times since Aug. 24, and a half-mile turf drill in 50.20 seconds Tuesday morning pleased his connections enough that the BC Mile plan was revealed.

“Coming off the layoff, the Mile just seems very logical for him,” Motion said in a Team Valor Stables news release. “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 spot.”

Animal Kingdom, who didn’t race during his 3-year-old season after finishing sixth in the Belmont Stakes, has made just two of his eight career starts on turf, and only once has started at a distance as short as a mile. That one-mile race came in his 3-year-old debut, when he finished second in a first-level turf allowance race. Animal Kingdom’s lone 2012 start produced a Gulfstream Park turf win going 1 1/16 miles.

“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,” Motion said in the release. “Going a mile, we feel he should be very fit for this race, and he deserves the opportunity.”

Animal Kingdom is a son of Leroidesanimaux, who finished second in the 2005 BC Mile and was named champion turf male that season.

Animal Kingdom’s attempt to win the BC Mile in his first start in more than eight months and second in almost 1 1/2 years harks back to Da Hoss. Da Hoss won his second BC Mile in 1998 while making his second start following a layoff of about two years.

The prospective field for the BC Mile is topped by Wise Dan, who was announced as a likely runner Saturday at Keeneland in the Shadwell Turf Mile.

Albert More than 1 year ago
Everything logical in handicapping tells you this horse should not win this race. But if everything was logical in handicapping there would be a lot of millionaires walking around. There is only one actual factor, and not some opinion about the owners, that you need to look at with him. He ran the final sixteenth of his Feb grass race in slightly over 5 seconds. Coming off a layoff. That's an 'uh oh' kind of time.
tom More than 1 year ago
Does everybody realize that prior to this announcement, Vegas had Animal Kingdom at 7-1 odds to win the CLASSIC? Sports Books and Casinos take into consideration every angle, statistic, workout, and scenario that could sway the odds. How could a novice handicapper (or anybody else for that matter), think that this horse doesn't have a chance in this race? He has quietly had 6 solid workouts, without any interruptions or hiccups in his training. Motion was pointing AK to this race for a long time. Why run the risk of a cheap prep to derail his bid? This beast is ready to be unleashed!
Five More than 1 year ago
Maybe it's "insider trading". hmmm....could they be just manipulating the public, and is really running in the CLASSIC when entry day comes along ? hmmmm
Five More than 1 year ago
oh, 1 more bit, you people remember Drug O's future play on IHA before he showed his hand.....hmmmm
tom More than 1 year ago
Good point Five. At the end of August, he was 15-1 at Harrah's Casino. After the past few workouts and hush hush interviews by Motion, he dropped to 7-1 by Sept 22. Though, I firmly believe he should be somewhere around 8 or 10-1 in this race...there may be only a couple of other horses that I would fancy over him. He belongs here, and I have the fullest confidence that he will perform accordingly.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
I doubt that very much. Other than Game on Dude, I doubt any horse was that low in futures
Kyri Freeman More than 1 year ago
I agree. Horses can win off layoffs -- and while obviously anything can happen there would be no sense whatever in running Animal Kingdom if he is not sound, because he has stud value. Having said that, I do wonder why NOT the Classic, because to me AK's biggest strength has always been his stamina. I think a mile is going to be too sharp for him at the GI level, especially on the fast turf out here. I'm not sold on Wise Dan either, despite his accomplishments, especially since he is running this weekend, which just seems like it might put him over the top for the BC. I'll wait and see how the field shapes up.
Robert Walton More than 1 year ago
DaHoss won the Breeders' Cup Mile in his first start in a year.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
Da Hoss actually won a prep race before his 2nd Breeders Cup Mile victory. That was his first race since he had won the Mile in '96. Memories of him coming back on the inside against Hawksley Hill pain me to this day.
Mark Whalen More than 1 year ago
Oh, you and me both, man. Hawksley was a juicy 16-1, I believe. Pain is right.
D More than 1 year ago
uumm Ponies Payme, You are wrong my friend. It is the Turf mile not the dirt mile so stop gloating and go back to your room before mama spanks you
Five More than 1 year ago
D,......are you Ponies' mama, or just flirting with him ? Is this a family show or what ?
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
OMG.... Who was it that said Ak would run in the Dirt Mile when they asked that very question a few weeks ago after Motion said his race would be a slightly out of character one???? ME!!!!!!! And if that is a recent pic of AK in this article, I'd bring some extra cash with you, as he looks awesome.
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
Excuse the word Dirt. typo
Joe Castillo More than 1 year ago
from a Handicapper standpoint, The fact that Animal Kingdom is in the race means Beter Odds for my Pick ! or anyother pick
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Joe Castillo More than 1 year ago
um court vision won last years race. turallure was one of the bettinf favs. finished second
John Howland More than 1 year ago
Turallure was 11-1,6th choice.He previously won the Woodbine Mile,which is probably the race Russell is thinking of.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Tullalure was double digit odds, I think 14-1. But yeah he didn't win. Plus, I believe he had won the Woodbine mile, which makes Russell wrong on two counts.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
Don't want to knock the guy down, but since I've been reading the DRF readers' comments he's suffered from hoof-in-mouth on several occasions. Here's the official synopsis from breederscup.com: A Breeders’ Cup single day record crowd of 80,452 witnessed two memorable performances, starting with the 6-year-old gelding Da Hoss, who won the 1996 Mile at Woodbine but had not raced for nearly two years. He came into the 1998 Mile with one prep race just a month before, but proved more than equal to the task. Losing the lead to Hawksley Hill in deep stretch, Da Hoss, ridden by John Velazquez, fought back to overtake his rival by a head at the wire. Breeders’ Cup announcer Tom Durkin called Da Hoss’s feat “the greatest comeback since Lazarus.”
Michael Infurna More than 1 year ago
Has Motion lost his mind?? I know Team Valor has!! Motion said in the release. “Going a mile, we feel he should be very fit for this race, and he deserves the opportunity.” Of course he will be fit, he's run once in 8 months!! And he deserves the opportunity?? To run against Wise Dan, who can beat him running backwards. Another example of owners not looking out for the horse!!
Bryan Tripoli More than 1 year ago
What are u scared of? It's great we have owners with some fortitude. They clearly know what kind of horse they are dealing with. Scared he's Gna beat wise Dan?!?!?!?!
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
He should have had a prep first. But that was too much of a risk for his connections,because if he didn't run good then the publicity hogs wouldn't have been a feature on the NBC telecast. This is a total self-serving move for Irwin and Motion and further erodes the sport
Perl More than 1 year ago
What garbage. How will it serve them if the horse breaks down or finishes 11th? It is a gutsy move and they know they have a high quality horse. He will add a lot of intrigue to a BC that would otherwise seem to lack it. Do you even believe the stuff you type?
richard montgomery More than 1 year ago
Intrigue? I cant believe Motion even said that this race makes sense for a comeback. How does it make sense? This horse won the derby because of a great ride by Johnny V who picked up the mount at the last second because Robby A was injured. AK was a logical derby pick only because if you studied the pedigrees -he seemed like a distance horse in a field void of it combined with long odds at 20-1. He lost the Preakness to S
richard montgomery More than 1 year ago
chackeleford, came in 6th in the Belmont. Now since then hes had a slab fracture and niw he will be running with the two screws in his leg. They were gonna send him to Dubai also, once I heard that I realized the connections were not looking out for his best interest.
Perl More than 1 year ago
I don't believe they will run him if they don't feel it's safe to do so.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Its in,his rt front I believe. Romans will not run him on that hard surfa,e if he not ok. Watch The Met Mile replay. Was winging that leg n not right since.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
Who has he beaten on the turf to a): even deserve a spot in this race at the expense of another and b): for his connection to place him here.
Bryan Tripoli More than 1 year ago
He won the derby.. Remember that?! Dirt turf who cares he's probably even better on grass