01/25/2013 4:44PM

Gulfstream Park: Animal Kingdom will have Rosario aboard for Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap

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Barbara D. Livingston
Animal Kingdom's schedule calls for him to breeze twice more before the Feb. 9 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Graham Motion confirmed Friday, while braving the cold at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, that Joel Rosario will ride Animal Kingdom when he starts his season in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on Feb. 9.

Rosario will step in for the injured Ramon Dominguez, who Motion had tabbed last month to ride Animal Kingdom in his 2013 debut. Dominguez is recuperating from injuries suffered in a recent riding mishap at Aqueduct.

This is the second time Motion has lost out on getting Dominguez aboard Animal Kingdom. The Eclipse Award-winning rider was Motion’s first choice to replace John Velazquez, who was committed to ride Wise Dan, aboard the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. But Dominguez had originally given a call to ride Little Mike in the Mile. By the time he learned Little Mike had been re-routed to the Turf, Motion had secured the services of Rafael Bejarano for his horse.

“The whole thing has been kind of frustrating, having to change riders so many times like we have with Animal Kingdom,” said Motion, who was planning to escape the cold later that afternoon, scheduled to board a plane for south Florida. “I know it’s circumstances, but it’s always frustrating, particularly when it happens with the best horse you’ve ever trained.”

Motion said Rosario, among the leading riders during the current session, was a logical choice to replace Dominguez.

“It was a group decision to reach out for Joel once we learned Ramon had been injured,” said Motion. “He was one of the guys we talked about riding Animal Kingdom in the Breeders’ Cup, and he’s been doing very well down there thus far this winter.”

Motion plans to breeze Animal Kingdom twice more before the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, where his competition will include Point of Entry and Unbridled Command. Velazquez is the regular rider for Point of Entry.

Motion is planning on using the Gulfstream Park Handicap as a prep for Animal Kingdom for the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 30.

“He worked once around the seven-furlong turf course at Palm Meadows last Monday and he’ll do the same thing again this Monday,” said Motion.

Dan More than 1 year ago
Excuse horse
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Animal Kingdom is an outstanding horse, who, for some odd, baffling reason, always seems to be underrated. I am a huge fan of this horse and that continues into this race. No underrating by this woman of this horse. Team Valor will have Animal Kingdom sharp and ready!
Vinny Blond More than 1 year ago
Animal Kingdom and Point of Entry are going to finish 1-2 in this race, I think Animal Kingdom will catch him in the final hundred yards though because that is what great horses do.
Steve Pernici More than 1 year ago
Please keep publishing all the comments about everyone getting on Point of Entry, so that we may actually have some odds on Animal Kingdom
fuggedabodit More than 1 year ago
You're not going to get any kind of price on Animal Kingdom, just aint gonna happen.
fuggedabodit More than 1 year ago
I like Point of Entry. He had a bad trip in his BC race, and still almost got there. Should be a good one for sure.
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Animal Kingdom is good but I do believe Point of Entry is the one to beat. One heck of a race and lets hope all have a safe trip.
nicola c More than 1 year ago
love him, hope he stays fit and well and roll on royal ascot ill be there to see him. i cant wait
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I'm jealous, Royal Ascot is very high on my bucket list.
nicola c More than 1 year ago
i be jealous come breeders cup time each year too, well hopefully one year u get over , u will love it.
David More than 1 year ago
Animal Kingdom is getting an upgrade in rider. Rosario is the best! Joel has never been an excuse why a horse didn't win in a big race.
Rachel Harding More than 1 year ago
His last race here in america before he goes off to dubai and then england then being retired. Its a shame, wanted to see him run more here, hes starting to come along.
Alex Martinez More than 1 year ago
I agree! And what's more frustrating is that the US didn't secure his breeding rights. I guess a horse that can run on all surfaces isn't worth anything in the United States? Sad.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
It is sad. And greedy.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
ITA, Alex.
Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
AWESOME! The Big 3 of the Turf World all going in The Gulf's GRI Turf Hcp! I'm going with Point of Entry over Animal Kingdom and Unbridled Command in a $50 Tri Key!!!
Piranha PE More than 1 year ago
WOW! Thanks for the insight. Never thought about playing those!! You should make enough for a large pizza on that one.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Hate the game not the player. Best of luck to you Geral, and most importantly enjoy the race.