06/13/2011 9:43AM

Animal Kingdom under consideration for Travers, Haskell

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Barbara D. Livingston
Animal Kingdom (center), shown at the start of the Belmont, may remain on dirt for his next race in an attempt to earn the 3-year-old championship.

Prior to the Belmont Stakes, Barry Irwin, the president of the Team Valor syndicate that owns Animal Kingdom, said that a start in either the Arlington Million or Secretariat Stakes, both on grass, would be a likely objective this summer for the Kentucky Derby winner. But in light of the Belmont Stakes result, in which Animal Kingdom finished sixth after getting mugged at the start, Irwin is reconsidering, and said the Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes on Aug. 27 at Saratoga is one of two races back in play, along with the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park on July 31.

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“We were hoping for a good finish in the Belmont Stakes, after which we would use the Arlington Million or Secretariat Stakes as the first stepping-stone toward the Breeders’ Cup Classic,” Irwin said Monday morning. “Our goal has been to run the colt where he would have the best chance to be voted an Eclipse Award. Doing well in the Belmont would have made it a whole lot easier.

“So now we have to have a rethink. I will speak to Graham at the end of the week and we will formulate a new plan. Now I think we have to strongly consider the Haskell or the Travers because of how they figure to impact Eclipse Award balloting.”

Animal Kingdom is trained by Graham Motion. Animal Kingdom returned from Belmont Park to Motion's barn at the Fair Hill training center in Maryland on Sunday morning.