The Graham Motion-trained colt, who won the Run for the Roses by 2 ¾ lengths in his first start on a conventional dirt track, drew the No.11 at Wednesday’s post position draw for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Animal Kingdom will be ridden by John Velazquez, who scored his first ever Derby success aboard the son of Leroidesanimaux.
Mucho Macho Man, who finished third behind Animal Kingdom in the Derby, drew the No. 9 to the inside of Dialed In before being rated third at 6-1.
ANIMAL KINGDOM (PP # 11; 2-1) – Graham Motion, trainer: “It’s great. I couldn’t be happier, really. I just would rather be on the outside than stuck down on the inside. I was a little worried when 1 and 14 were left. I’ve started from 14 before and you’re almost on the outside rail. That’s a tough spot.”
On how the field shapes up with speed: “I really haven’t looked at it too closely. I don’t feel like there is a whole lot I can do about it at this stage. I just want to make sure my horse is doing well, and I feel like he is. There is going to be some speed in there, I do know that, and that shouldn’t hurt us.”
DIALED IN (PP # 10; 9-2) – Nick Zito, trainer: “I think it’s fine. Everything looks good. It’s not going to bother him at all. I think if you get over, you know you’re in good shape. Normally, a closer, you like to be inside because you’re already there, but you can get bottled up or whatever. Julien will have a good shot at it.”
MUCHO MACHO MAN (PP # 9; 6-1) – Kathy Ritvo, trainer: “The post is great. Anyplace out there would have been perfect for me. I’m going to let (Rajiv Maragh) ride his own race.”
ASTROLOGY (PP # 1; 15-1) – Steve Asmussen, trainer: Not available for comment.
CONCEALED IDENTITY (PP # 13; 30-1) – Linda Gaudet, owner: “No. 13 is not a bad post. My horse is dead fit and ready to run. His last race he drew off and galloped out well. It’s a long run to the first turn and we’ll make sure he’s a little closer to the front.”
DANCE CITY (PP # 8; 12-1) – Todd Pletcher, trainer: “I think it’s good. I think most of the speed is inside us. Right in the middle is a good spot. I’m pretty happy sitting there.”
FLASHPOINT (PP # 4; 20-1) – Wesley Ward, trainer: “I think we’re good. We drew a good post. We’ll have to see how we break. We’ll talk it over with Mr.(John) Fort and with the jock (Cornelio Velasquez), and we’ll come up with a game plan here probably as soon as tomorrow.”
ISN’T HE PERFECT (PP # 12; 30-1) – Doodnauth Shivmangal, trainer: “I don’t like the 12 post, but what can you do? We will try our best. We’ve got the speed to come out of there, but I would have preferred to have 5 or 6, but that’s fine.”
KING CONGIE (PP # 3; 20-1) – Terry Finley, managing partner: “I think everything’s fine. A horse like him, he’s not devoid of early speed, so I’m just glad we didn’t end up with the 13 or 14, then he would have had to drop back. He’ll be able to save a little bit of ground. Hopefully, he’s good enough and that length or two will make a difference”
MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE (PP # 7; 15-1) – Bob Baffert, trainer: “Things are looking up. No. 7 is a good post. You don’t want to be in the 1, 2 or 14, but everything else is fine. I think we should have been closer up in the Derby, and I think we’ll be there here.”
MR. COMMONS (PP # 14; 20-1) – John Shirreffs, trainer: “It’s better than the 20.”
NORMAN ASBJORNSON (PP # 2; 30-1) – Chris Grove, trainer: “We wanted a little further outside, somewhere where he didn’t have to stand in the gate as long, but we’ll have to deal with it right now, and he’ll have to deal with it. It’s going to put you right in the thick of the race early, so it’s something Mr.(Julian) Pimentel’s going to have to deal with early in the race.”
SHACKLEFORD (PP # 5; 12-1) – Michael Lauffer, owner: “I think it will be fine with us. We’ve been on the outside two of the last three races, so it will be nice to be near the inside. We’ve got speed, so we should be able to save a little ground into the first turn, which is what we want to do. He should be in the top three or four horses going into the first turn.”
SWAY AWAY (PP # 6; 15-1) – Mersad Metanovic, racing manager: “It was excellent. We don’t want No.1 and we don’t want No. 14. We’re happy. I believe, as we discussed with (trainer) Jeff (Bonde), that we’ll reserve off the pace and make one run with the horse. It’s up to (jockey) Garrett (Gomez), as well. He’s a nice, patient rider and he’s got all the credentials. Nobody has to tell him how to do it.”