Animal Kingdom, winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby, returned to Keeneland Oct. 22 from his home base at Fair Hill, Md., to continue preparations for a Nov. 3 run at the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park.
With regular exercise rider David Nava aboard, Animal Kingdom came to the main track around 8:30 a.m. the morning of Oct. 23. Accompanied by a pony, he jogged up the stretch to the middle of the far turn and then turned in a strong gallop under stout restraint while going a little more than 1 1/4 miles on his own.
The Mile will be the 4-year-old colt's first start since February; he has not raced for trainer Graham Motion and Team Valor International since a Gulfstream Park allowance victory on the grass Feb. 18. A stress fracture of the ilium developed three weeks later and knocked him out of training for the $10 million Dubai World Cup, but the injury did not require surgery and healed with 30 days of stall rest.
Animal Kingdom, who resumed training in June and began breezing Aug. 21, is scheduled to have his final pre-Breeders' Cup breeze at Keeneland Oct. 26. He will then ship to California Oct. 27.
The son of Leroidesanimaux broke his maiden at the Lexington oval in his second start two years ago, and trained there for nearly a month prior to winning the Kentucky Derby. He is a Team Valor homebred out of the Acatenango mare Dalicia, and has a 4-3-0 record from eight starts with earnings of $1,967,500.