Animal Kingdom tries for 1 more US win

Updated: February 8, 2013, 4:56 PM ET
Associated Press

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Animal Kingdom will try for one more victory in the United States on Saturday before heading overseas.

The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner will run in the Grade 1, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. Then he'll race in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 30, and perhaps make a trip to Royal Ascot in England for a final career start in June.

"You just hope you get to each one," trainer Graham Motion said. "The trip to Ascot, if we could do that, would be the icing on the cake. To do that would mean he ran very well in Dubai. Otherwise, we wouldn't do that."

Also on the schedule Saturday is the Grade 1, $500,000 Donn Handicap, with Ultimate Eagle making his first start since finishing second by a head in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap at Santa Anita on Jan. 5.

Ultimate Eagle has made all of his career starts in Southern California and brings a 12-5-2-3 record and earnings of $547,000 into the 1 1/8 mile Donn. His competition will include Csaba, who bids for a fifth consecutive stakes victory, and Take Charge Indy, the 2012 Florida Derby winner.

The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred Animal Kingdom is scheduled to stand at stud in September at Australia's Arrowfield Stud, which recently purchased a majority interest in his breeding rights.

His racing schedule has been interrupted by two layoffs due to injury, resulting in just two starts since his only off-the-board finish in the 2011 Belmont Stakes.

"He's probably the best horse I'll ever train," Motion said. "It's going to be hard to have a horse that I can say is better than him, so not being able to run for a certain amount of time has been frustrating. I would have loved to have seen him be able to go out there and prove over and over again how great he is. But he has been somewhat fragile."

After recovering from an injury to his left hind leg detected after the Belmont, Animal Kingdom won a turf allowance race at Gulfstream by two lengths last February.

Another problem with his left hind leg, unrelated to the first injury, again sidelined Animal Kingdom. He returned to finish second to Wise Dan in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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