02/11/2013 3:49PM

Gulfstream Park: Animal Kingdom still on target for Dubai World Cup

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Graham Motion said he is hoping to work Animal Kingdom three times in Florida before sending him to Dubai for the World Cup.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Animal Kingdom, runner-up to Point of Entry in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, remains on target for the $10 million Dubai World Cup. Animal Kingdom made a quick and surprising rush to the lead under jockey Joel Rosario midway down the backstretch in the Gulfstream Park Turf before ultimately yielding to the winner through the final furlong in his first start since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

“Nothing’s changed as far as Dubai goes,” trainer Graham Motion said from the Fair Hill training center in Maryland on Monday. “I was very pleased with the way he came out of the race.”

Motion said he believes Animal Kingdom’s early move likely cost him the race.

“I think very clearly that Joel got pressured into making a premature move,” Motion said. “I was a little anxious going into the race having a rider who didn’t know the horse at all.”

Motion credited jockey John Velazquez with “a very smart race on Point of Entry, and the fact he knows my horse so well probably helped the situation.”

Velazquez guided Animal Kingdom to victory in the 2011 Kentucky Derby.

“It was asking an awful lot of my horse to run from the five-eighths pole out,” Motion said. “Saying that, he got beat by a really good horse and it was not a disgrace by any means. What’s so phenomenal to me about Animal Kingdom is that he has such an extraordinary kick, he showed that in the Breeders’ Cup as well.”

Motion said he is hoping to work Animal Kingdom three times at Palm Meadows before sending him to Dubai for the World Cup.

“I really want to get most of my work done with him over here,” Motion said. “I don’t think I want to work him in Dubai.”