Team Valor’s 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom is likely to make his next start in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on November 3.
The chestnut son of Leroidesanimaux was last seen scoring a third level allowance optional claiming turf race at Gulfstream Park. That race was supposed to tighten the bolts for a bid in the Dubai World Cup, but an injury prohibited his trip across the pond.
This is a good sporting move by the connections. The Breeders’ Cup Mile was already assured a star in the form of Woodbine Mile stalwart Wise Dan and the presence of Animal Kingdom will enhance the race even further.
Can he win the race? I don’t see why he cannot. Da Hoss won the Mile in 1996 then again in 1998 after having only a single race between those epic triumphs. Da Hoss wasn’t a Kentucky Derby champion; but Animal Kingdom is.
“Coming off the layoff, the Mile just seems very logical for him,” said trainer Graham Motion, who captured the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2004 with Better Talk Now and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf with Shared Account in 2010. “He certainly has the turn of foot to handle it. The timing is right for his schedule coming back, and the caliber of horse that he is, you’re not going to look for a nice, easy spot. It’s a totally different situation than last winter when we ran him in the Gulfstream allowance to get ready for the Dubai World Cup. Going a mile, we feel he should be very fit for this race, and he deserves the opportunity.”
If he wins the Mile, Animal Kingdom will become the first Derby winner since Unbridled in 1990 to score Breeders’ Cup glory.
Likely foes for Animal Kingdom include the aforementioned Wise Dan as well as dual Group 1 winner Excelebration, Jeranimo, Data Link and Mr. Commons.
Click here to read a press release from Team Valor.