The Animal Kingdom Stakes will be run at Turfway Park this Saturday, March 14th. The 6 ½ furlong, $75,000 race is named in honor of the versatile, chestnut colt that won the 2011 Kentucky Derby.
Get to know this race’s namesake with this list of facts about Animal Kingdom:
1. Animal Kingdom was born on March 20, 2008 at Denali Stud in Paris, KY. Denali raised and prepared him for the Keeneland September Yearling Sale at which he was purchased by Team Valor Racing for $100,000.
2. His pedigree is full of horses from all over the world! His dam, Dalicia, was a Group 3 winning German racehorse. Her sire was German and her dam was Irish. Animal Kingdom’s sire, Leroidesanimaux, was a 3x Grade 1 winning Brazilian-bred out of a British racemare.
3. Animal Kingdom was the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby without ever having raced on the dirt. Before winning the run for the horses, Animal Kingdom had two races on the turf and two races on the synthetic, including the Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park.
4. The colt won the Kentucky Derby with morning line odds of 20.9-1 and paid $43.80 to win!
5. Trainer Graham Motion had never won a Kentucky Derby before Animal Kingdom and actually had trouble finding his way down to the winners’ circle.
6. Animal Kingdom finished a narrow second in the Preakness Stakes, dashing any hopes at winning a Triple Crown. He still ran in the Belmont Stakes, but had terrible racing luck that included clipping heels and his jockey losing his stirrups.
7. Bone scans conducted after the Belmont Stakes revealed that Animal Kingdom had a slab fracture. He underwent surgery at the New Bolton Research Center and two screws were placed in his fracture.
8. Animal Kingdom returned to the races the next year to win an Allowance race on the Turf at Gulfstream Park. He re-fractured the same leg and had to take additional time off the races to recover before finishing second in the Breeders Cup Mile (G1) eight months later.
9. Animal Kingdom won the Dubai World Cup (G1) in 2013!
10. Animal Kingdom retired at the end of 2013, starting his stud career at Arrowfield Stud in Australia before moving to Darley Stud for the 2014 breeding season. He sired 12 stakes winners from three crops of racing age before being sold to Japan. He currently resides at the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association.
Animal Kingdom was known for his consistency, versatility, and toughness. He was able to rebound from two fractures to win or place in some of the most prestigious races in the world. This weekend we will celebrate the life and career of Animal Kingdom that best way we know how - with a race named in his honor.
[Video: Watch Darley's stallion highlight of Animal Kingdom that includes race replays]
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