Animal Kingdom is poised for a run at history on June 18 when he starts in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Winner of the $10 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) at Meydan in his last start and the 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1), Animal Kingdom will take on 12 rivals in the Queen Anne, including multiple Group 1 winner Elusive Kate. A win in the Queen Anne would give Animal Kingdom, by HallMarc stallion Leroidesanimaux (BRZ), group 1 wins in the U.S., United Arab Emirates and England.
Victorious in five of 11 lifetime starts, Animal Kingdom has earned $8,387,500, $6,060,000 this season alone. Trained by Graham Motion, Animal Kingdom will be the first Kentucky Derby winner since Triple Crown winner Omaha in 1935 to compete at Royal Ascot. He will be ridden by John Velazquez.
“Keeping his focus while racing on a straight course is the biggest challenge,” said Barry Irwin, the president of Team Valor International, in a Daily Racing Form article. “It is different, and he has never done it. But, having said that, this horse is smart. He learns and adapts, and I have a lot of confidence in him after seeing both of his last two works in person. He is ready.”
Dubai Racing Club photo