05/10/2013 9:44AM

Animal Kingdom's Royal Ascot goal now Queen Anne

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Tom Keyser
Animal Kingdom will run in the Queen Anne, a straight one-mile race that runs up hill, rather than the 1 1/4-mile Prince of Wales's Stakes.

Animal Kingdom, the Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup winner, will start in the Queen Anne Stakes rather than the Prince of Wales’s Stakes when he races at the Royal Ascot meet in England next month, his connections announced Friday.

Both races are prestigious Group 1’s, but the Queen Anne – won brilliantly by Frankel last summer – might be the more important race in terms of Animal Kingdom’s stallion career, which is expected to begin later this year at Arrowfield Stud in Australia. The Queen Anne, to be run on Tuesday, June 19, is contested on a straight course over about one mile, while the Prince of Wales’s is a one and one-quarter mile race around a bend. The straight course at Ascot used for the Queen Anne runs uphill, making the race a greater test of stamina than its raw distance suggests, a plus for Animal Kingdom, whose best trip might be something between nine and 10 furlongs. Animal Kingdom is a solid betting favorite – offered generally at about 3-1 – to win the Queen Anne.

Animal Kingdom shipped directly to England from Dubai about a week after winning the $10 million World Cup on March 30, and he has been stabled at trainer David Lanigan’s training yard in Lambourn since arriving. Trainer Graham Motion has traveled from his Maryland base to England on multiple occasions to look in on Animal Kingdom, and walked the Ascot course this past week while on an overseas supervisory mission.

Prior to the World Cup, Team Valor Stables, Animal Kingdom’s breeder and sole owner for most of his career, sold 75 percent of the horse to Arrowfield Stud. It was announced after the World Cup that Darley had acquired a 29 percent interest in Animal Kingdom, and that the horse would stand at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Kentucky when he shuttles to North America for breeding duties.