Monday, February 20, 2012

Motion Rates Animal Kingdom’s Performance ‘Top Ten’

BOYNTON BEACH, FL - Trainer Graham Motion reported Sunday morning that Animal Kingdom seemed to come out of his comeback victory in Saturday’s fifth race at Gulfstream Park in fine order.

“He’s a very hard horse to read because he always acts kind of tired,” said Motion of his laid-back 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner, who hadn’t raced since undergoing surgery to repair a fracture in his left hind leg in June. “But he certainly didn’t seem knocked out by it. I think we couldn’t ask for a better prep, really.”

Animal Kingdom, who received enthusiastic ovations from the Gulfstream fans before and after his two-length score in the 1 1/16-mile turf allowance, also received enhanced media exposure.

“He made the ESPN Top 10 Plays of the Day. I thought that was pretty cool,” said Motion during training hours at Palm Meadows.

Animal Kingdom is scheduled to race next in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 31.

The Derby winner may have company on the flight to Dubai. Despite losing by a nose to Daddy Nose Best in Saturday’s El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate Fields, Lucky Chappy turned in an impressive performance in which he closed from 10th and last with a five-wide move.

“The horse is so tiny, I think if he was a little bigger, he would have won that race,” Motion said. “He’s never going to win a photo-finish, that horse. He’s a very honest horse, though.”

Motion and Team Valor International’s Barry Irwin will weigh the pros and cons of running Lucky Chappy in the UAE Derby in Dubai before making a decision concerning his next start.

“We’re going to talk about it. That’s been our plan. We’re going to try to figure out what caliber of 3-year-olds they have over there. It’s a long way to go and there are so many options here, but it’s something we’re talking about,” Motion said. “The distance would be good for him. It’s a mile-and-three-sixteenths.”

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