Updated on 06/21/2013 10:13AM

Royal Ascot: Animal Kingdom soundly defeated in Queen Anne


Animal Kingdom won the 2011 Kentucky Derby in his first dirt start, and he traveled halfway around the globe to memorably capture the $10 million Dubai World Cup in March, but he could not conquer his latest new world, England, clunking home 11th of 13 on Tuesday at Royal Ascot as Declaration of War won the Group 1, $311,000 Queen Anne Stakes.

Animal Kingdom and John Velazquez raced prominently for the first half of the one-mile Queen Anne, but dropped tamely away when the race’s tempo quickened.

“It took the wind out of our sails,” trainer Graham Motion said. “There was a lot of hope for this race.”

Animal Kingdom would have been the first American-trained Queen Anne victor, but the winning Coolmore silks worn by Joseph O’Brien on Declaration of War were a much more familiar sight. While the young O’Brien won his first Queen Anne, Declaration of War gave his father, trainer Aidan O’Brien, his third victory in the race, and Coolmore connections have owned at least part of four Queen Anne winners.

Declaration of War has U.S. ties: His breeder and co-owner is Joseph Allen, a New York native with a residence in Florida, and Declaration of War, a son of the American stallion War Front, was bred in the U.S. After making two starts in France in 2011, Declaration of War apparently spent a brief period in Florida, posting a half-mile workout at the Palm Meadows training center on Feb. 5, 2012.

But it was not until September 2012 that Declaration of War made his 3-year-old debut, showing up in Ireland under O’Brien’s care. He had won three races in a row before checking in fifth of 12 making his Group 1 debut May 18 at Newbury in the J.T. Lockinge Stakes.

That performance was a disappointment, but validation of Declaration of War’s perceived talent came Tuesday when he bulled between Elusive Kate and Libranno in the final furlong, outfinishing Aljamaaheer by three-quarters of a length. Gregorian was another half-length back in third, followed by his stablemate Elusive Kate. Winning time for the straight-course mile on good going was 1:38.48.

More than 11 lengths behind the winner came Animal Kingdom, whose excellent career apparently concluded on a sour note. Breaking from the outside stall, Animal Kingdom tugged hard on Velazquez’s reins during the early going, failing to find cover while racing in fourth and fifth position.

“My horse was pretty keen and didn’t get to relax the way I wanted him to,” Velazquez said. “Finally, when I let him go, he didn’t come up with any run. I rode him out, but there was no point. He just didn’t have it at all.”

Animal Kingdom was shipped from Dubai to England in early April and had trained to his connections’ satisfaction. Perhaps it was the straight course unlike anything over which Animal Kingdom had raced, and perhaps it was his ambitious travel schedule this year, but for whatever reason the horse was nothing close to himself Tuesday. Plans now call for Animal Kingdom to become a stallion at Arrowfield Stud in Australia, and to shuttle to Darley in Kentucky during the Northern Hemisphere breeding season. Animal Kingdom’s career record stands at 12-5-5-0 with earnings of nearly $8.4 million.

Real Dawn Approach shows up

Dawn Approach, backing up trainer Jim Bolger’s bold move, bravely won the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday at Royal Ascot just 17 days after a deflating last-place finish as the favorite in the Epsom Derby.

It was clear Dawn Approach, unbeaten in seven pre-Derby stakes, was nothing close to himself racing 12 furlongs in the Derby, and the one-mile St. James’s Palace marked a return to a more suitable distance. Still, as he had in the slow-paced Derby, Dawn Approach pulled hard in the early stages of the one-turn race Tuesday, eventually settling into a decent rhythm when tucked behind the leaders by jockey Kevin Manning.

Pulled out to make his run, Dawn Approach got soundly bumped by Magician as Glory Awaits drifted out, but recovered and gamely turned back a strong late move from Toronado, who had rallied from the back of the field. It took a photograph to separate the top pair, with Dawn Approach a nose better. Mars finished third, but his well-regarded stablemate Magician was last of nine.

Dawn Approach, a son of New Approach owned by Godolphin and Bolger, won for the eighth times in nine starts, capturing his fourth Group 1 while looking like a player for the major one-mile European races this summer and fall.

Sole Power turns tables on Shea Shea

Sole Power twice was beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Shea Shea in turf sprints this winter in Dubai, but turned the tables on Shea Shea with a quarter-length victory in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes.

Shea Shea bid for the lead about a furlong from the finish of the five-furlong dash, but Sole Power, finishing far to Shea Shea’s outside, had a better kick to nab a narrow victory for trainer Edward Lynam and jockey John Murtagh.

john murray More than 1 year ago
There are 270 posts on Animal Kingdom, everyone is beating up on each other calling each other idiots, pointing out spelling mistakes, JV versus Rosario. Remember all the jingoistic hype before the race, everyone thought he was a mortal lock, easy winner, now Irwin makes another crass descriptive comment on the fact that AK was studdish. Nobody like to see such a hero go down but who built him up? The enemy is us. As a group, we should not be reduced to such base levels of communication standards, so a top US horse lost to a weak bunch of turfers, get over it. Kudos for Motion,and for trying, a good dance while it lasted. Thanks for the opportunity to learn and observe Euro racing, maybe we will send over some of our top turf horses more often, like a Euro Breeders Cup, if they card a few sprint dirt dashes for us. Remember it was not that long ago when some laughed and ridiculed the Euros for running their turf horses in "our" Breeders Cup dirt races and the Makhtoums for trying to establish racing in Dubai, or entering our Kentucky Derby. The point has been brought home, the power, money and best of breed are no longer in NA and we have watched it happen for the last 40 years. Buckpasser .
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Some here just do not get it.... This race is akin to a prolonged quarterhorse race.....horses like Easy Goer would have chewed out and spit out his competition...just like Frankel...but put EG or Frankel is long tough turns and they will not fare too well..... History has been ignored.....back when great thoroughbreds were bred it was because of the derbies...Epsom, Kentucky, Yushun.....where speed, stamina, agility and strength was part of being a great thoroughbred.....now it is all about speed and nothing else....a regression of the breed.....
Infinity More than 1 year ago
Never ran over a 103 beyer......nice horse, either way.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Remember all of the people that wnted Frankel to come here to face Wise Dan? I like Wise Dan ,alot. But Animal Kingdom is a classy horse as well,and looked hopelessly overmatched and beaten by horses who couldn't even warm up Frankel. We don't get too many oppurtunities to see just how good the top class Euro horses are compared to ours. They mostly send second and third stringers or bleeders here to the states.I think this provides a little perspective.
ray johns More than 1 year ago
Big Jeff, Indeed Euro horses do have a decidedly lopsided advantage over American grass horses , but that is not to say Animal Kingdom did not get something out of this race where he appeared to be over-matched. I have yet to see an American horse come back strong the first time back after racing in the Dubai World Cup. Few can do it. Also, I think a grass horse comes up decidedly short too often after running a hard race on a synthetic surface then switched back to the grass. I'd love to see one more race for Animal Kingdom in the 2013 Breeders Cup . I'd wager the house that Animal Kingdom would vindicate his greatness .
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Amen Big Jeff....I couldn't have said it better myself.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
you're right.Animal Kingdom ,along with Wise Dan, would have been trounced.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Straight course a running Frankel would have been lost in our turns just like mediocre Excelebration....
Rafael Acosta More than 1 year ago
AK was in over his head--no shame in that.
Lise McLain More than 1 year ago
Hi! This writer spoke the truth and is NOT negative. Don't we want the truth for God's sakes? Too bad for Animal Kingdom. I think he retires after this race. Thank you! Lise from Maine
Sarah Jane More than 1 year ago
This writer has not a clue, and is quite negative, what a shame!
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
My high regard and admiration for Animal Kingdom will never be changed, the result of this one race doesn't change the fact that this is a magnificent horse. I've been a huge AK fan for years. This horse has heart, courage, fierceness, tenacity and great talent. He is capable of winning on any surface, not just one surface like many others. He's regal-looking, gorgeous to look at, and his bloodlines are delightfully unique, top class & very interesting from a breeding standpoint. Animal Kingdom's children & progeny will be endowed with all of his great attributes. His bloodlines should add great strength and stamina laced with excellent speed to his future progeny. Not only will Australia's stock be strengthened, but America's as well (something both countries need). Animal Kingdom has overcome great adversity, whether on the track or on a personal basis with his health. We have witnessed Animal Kingdom triumph over all of his obstacles time and time again. What is not to love or admire about this horse? - LOL. It has been a great honor to watch his races, watch him grow up and to be his fan. I'm going to miss him very much as he enters into retirement, but Animal Kingdom has already totally proven himself to the entire world on the race track, he owes none of us anything further. He's proven he's truly a great champion horse. Frankly, what I've been blessed to see of Animal Kingdom on the race track has been tremendous, simply tremendous! Thank you Team Valor & Graham Motion for bringing us Animal Kingdom. Some of the best races I've ever personally witnessed has come from this wonderful horse. Your excellent training & faith in him and his abilities during his times of challenge showed the world the excellence and sheer grit and determination of this horse. Excellent job to Team Animal Kingdom. And thank you, Animal Kingdom, for giving us all some wonderful thrills watching the excellence of your racing. Bravo! As I said before, it has been an honor to be your fan. Have a happy, fun retirement. There are lots of lovely mares in your future, who will give birth to your talented, beautiful foals. I can't wait to see AK's children & progeny on the world stage, adding to Animal Kingdom's legacy. Buona fortuna, Animal Kingdom, Team Valor and Graham Motion in all you do in the future. Thank you, again.
Robert Duncan More than 1 year ago
should have ran hom at Saratoga then the Classic and called it quits shipping him over seas its all different there dont like that choice but its all about money now
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They were not shipping back to the United States. He was entered in this last race because Graham Motion asked to be allowed, as it was a dream of his. He stated this on air immediately following the world cup.