HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) - 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.
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Mike DempseyMike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup. The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes. Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick. Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike daily with top picks from Belmont Park or grab winners in the Weekend Best Plays Report in the horse racing Multi-Track package. Want more action? Sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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