04/04/2013 5:00AM

Animal Kingdom to stand Northern Hemisphere season at Darley

Andrew Watkins
Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom will stand the Northern Hemisphere breeding season at Darley's Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom will stand the Northern Hemisphere breeding season at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky., after the international breeding operation bought an interest in the horse.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum’s Darley, which acquired a 29 percent interest in the 5-year-old son of Leroidesanimaux, will partner with John Messara’s Arrowfield Stud near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, where Animal Kingdom will enter stud for the 2013 Southern Hemisphere season. Arrowfield had acquired a majority interest in breeding rights to the horse from owner Team Valor International last fall.

“Animal Kingdom is outstanding,” Darley chief operating officer Oliver Tait said. “Not only is he immensely talented, he has shown a rare ability to excel on turf, synthetic and dirt and win at a range of distances up to the mile and a quarter of the Kentucky Derby and the Dubai World Cup. His World Cup win at Meydan [Racecourse] last Saturday [March 30] was all class.”

Animal Kingdom struck the lead turning for home and held off a late charge from Red Cadeaux to win the $10 million Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest race, by two lengths. It was the first World Cup win by an American-based horse at Meydan, which features a synthetic Tapeta Footings surface and opened in 2010; California-based Well Armed won the World Cup on dirt at Nad al Sheba in 2009. The victory, Animal Kingdom’s fifth from 11 career starts, sent his earnings to $8,387,500.

“We are delighted to partner with Darley in the ownership of Animal Kingdom and management of his future international stud career,” Messara said. “We have always had a great working relationship with Darley and have the utmost respect for Sheikh Mohammed and the Darley management team. With our unprecedented combined support, Animal Kingdom will have every opportunity to develop from a champion racehorse into a champion sire.”

Team Valor stated via social media that the group will maintain "a significant minority interest" in Animal Kingdom. 

"Team Valor is thrilled to have titans of the breeding industry, Darley and Arrowfield, as partners in Animal Kingdom's stud career," Team Valor posted on its official Twitter account.

Team Valor chief executive officer Barry Irwin said last fall that the group plans to form broodmare partnerships to breed to Animal Kingdom, with plans to campaign his offspring around the world.

“[Team Valor] is committed to Animal Kingdom's stud career, [and is] currently stocking up on broodmares for him,” Team Valor posted on its Twitter account March 29.

Animal Kingdom will be flown from Dubai to England on April 6, where he could make one more start at the famed Royal Ascot meeting in June, which would make him the first Kentucky Derby winner to compete there since Omaha in 1936. Possibilities include the Queen Anne Stakes or the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, both Group 1 events, on June 18 and 19, respectively. He will then enter quarantine to prepare for his trip to the Southern Hemisphere.

Animal Kingdom, who is trained by Graham Motion, won the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes on Polytrack at Turfway in March 2011 before capturing the Kentucky Derby in his first start on conventional dirt. Animal Kingdom finished second to Shackleford in the Preakness and then sixth in the Belmont—the only unplaced outing of his career—after being severely bothered at the start. He emerged from the race with a season-ending fracture in his right hind leg, but still took home the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male.

Animal Kingdom returned to the races to win an allowance on the turf at Gulfstream in February 2012, but was forced to miss that spring’s Dubai World Cup after suffering an injury in a workout. Away from the races for nearly nine months, he finished a fast-closing second last November to eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

The horse finished second to Point of Entry in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap in February in his prep for the World Cup.

Animal Kingdom is out of the Group 3-winning Acatenango mare Dalicia.

Forego137 More than 1 year ago
The bottom line is Point Of Entry beat him on the square whenboth horses were coming off layoffs. It's too bad they don't bring back A.K. to the USA to try and avenge the loss to Point Of Entry instead they chose to go hide in England to run against inferior horse's for his final career start instad of proving that he is really that good by trying to beat Point Of Entry. All of A.K. wins were being at the right place at the right time when most of the best horses were not in the race.
Domingo Calderon Mejia More than 1 year ago
Tremendo animal
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Three types of surfaces are our current reality with regards to Thoroughbred racing - (Synthetics/grass/dirt). AK was showcased at the highest levels on all three so the "sexy" factor will play into his initial stud fee which could mean he will indeed command a higher fee than his sire. I'm just glad that the boys from Medan are investing in our future. Hooray!!!
chairmanwong0 More than 1 year ago
Logic would say leroidesanimaux's stud fees be worth more, but would the son's stud fees be more than the father?
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
So then he Does shuttle. That's good news.
Anil More than 1 year ago
Wonder how much his stud fee would be?
Guy More than 1 year ago
If AK wins at Royal Ascot...He could be come the highest priced stallion in either hemisphere.
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
Not with his pedigree, and certainly not higher than Frankel.
Suzanne Thomas More than 1 year ago
If breeders were smart, they would FLOCK to him in droves BECAUSE of his pedigree. Our North American Thoroughbred bloodstock is much too inbred, and is becoming much too fragile as a result.
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
Look at some European pedigrees. If inbreeding was the cause of fragility, their horses would be dropping like flies. The names in AK's pedigree are so unfamiliar here, you'd be taking a big risk breeding to him. You would have no idea what kinds of mares he would cross best with - no history . He would probably do better in Europe where breeders are familiar with German racing and breeding.
Mable Roberts More than 1 year ago
Amen, Suzanne. Not with his pedigree? You've got to be kidding me. Would LOVE to see what you think of as a good pedigree... I'm laughing already!!!
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
We live in a Global world. I'm sure German blood stock consultants take dollars too. I don't think AK's pedigree is that much of a mystery (or a road block to breeders)
m More than 1 year ago
AK is a Monsta!
Kimberly Shugars More than 1 year ago
I knew he would be standing somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, and not surprised it's Darley. If anyone can give this international horse the international exposure he deserves as a first year stallion it is Darley, Arrowfield and Team Valor. Looks like AK will be sharing a plane ride to Kentucky from Australia along with Hard Spun, Street Cry, Lohnro and Medaglia D'oro when they fly home from the southern breeding season in December/January. Now that is precious cargo.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Races at FH 30 May, yes?