Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner whose owners include Youngtown businessman Bruce Zoldan, will race in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on the Turf race Nov. 3.
The Breeders Cup will be run at Santa Anita Park in California.
The Derby winner owned by Team Valor finished second in the 2011 Preakness then injured a leg in the Belmont Stakes. Zoldan is a member of the Team Valor consortium.
On Feb. 18, last year’s champion 3-year-old male scored an easy turf win at Gulfstream Park in his only start this year. But in March, Animal Kingdom developed a stress fracture of the ilium that knocked him out of the $6-million Dubai World Cup.
The injury did not require surgery and healed with 30 days of stall rest. Over the summer, trainer Graham Motion suggested the Mile as a viable option if the 4-year-old colt encountered no setbacks. Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin agreed, but he and Motion decided to not reveal the plan until Animal Kingdom showed in his training that the race was a reasonable goal.
On Tuesday, Animal Kingdom breezed five furlongs in company with Badleroibrown on the turf racetrack across the street from Fair Hill Training Center, Motion’s base in Elkton, Md. The official time was :50.20 for the final four furlongs.
“Coming off the layoff, the Mile just seems very logical for him,” said 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.”