KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER ANIMAL KINGDOM RETURNS TO KEENELAND
Team Valor International’s Animal Kingdom, winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (G1), returned to Keeneland Monday night from his home base at Fair Hill, Md., to continue his preparation for his return to the races.
Animal Kingdom, who broke his maiden here in his second start exactly two years ago, trained here for nearly a month prior to his win in the Kentucky Derby. He will not be here nearly as long this time as he is scheduled to ship to California on Saturday for an expected start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on November 3.
Trained by Graham Motion, Animal Kingdom has not raced since a February 18 allowance victory on grass at Gulfstream Park. The Leroidesanimaux (BRZ) colt is scheduled to have his final pre-Breeders’ Cup work here this week.
With regular exercise rider David Nava aboard, Animal Kingdom came to the main track Tuesday morning at 8:30. Accompanied by a pony, Animal Kingdom jogged up the stretch to the middle of the far turn and then galloped a little more than 1¼ miles on his own.
GOLDEN TICKET NOT PRE-ENTERED FOR BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC
Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Golden Ticket, dead-heat winner with Alpha in the Travers (G1) in August, was not pre-entered in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
“He worked really poor on Saturday and I was not happy,” trainer Ken McPeek said of the five-furlong work in 1:02.40. “We scoped him after the work and he was really clogged and had a lung infection.
“We postponed the decision until 11 yesterday morning, but it was pretty obvious he was not 100 percent. We will nominate him for the Clark (Handicap, G1, to be run November 23 at Churchill Downs) but it is doubtful he’ll run. Our goal is to get him ready for next year and have him compete with the top older horses.”
McPeek also said Charles Fipke’s Java’s War, third in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1), would not make the Breeders’ Cup.
“He had a 103-degree fever Saturday morning and his white count was up,” McPeek said. “He will be out for a period of time.”
McPeek does have one Breeders’ Cup pre-entry: Shortleaf Stable’s Atigun for the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon (G2) to be run November 2. Atigun is scheduled to work this week and ship to California on Sunday.
Jockey Joe Rocco Jr., who went down in a spill in Friday’s first race on the turf, is named on three mounts Wednesday. “I feel like I got hit by a truck, but the plan is to ride Wednesday,” Rocco said Tuesday after galloping a horse. “I’m still a little sore, but I’m walking and talking.”
FALL MEET SPECIAL EVENTS
Wednesday, October 24
Keeneland Handicapping Contest. Place a mythical $2 win and place wager on Keeneland races 3-9. Entry fee is $10 with a guaranteed $2,500 pool. Limit three entries per person. First 200 participants receive a free Daily Racing Form.
Friday, October 26
Fan Appreciation Day. Patrons will be treated to a sample of Keeneland’s famous bread pudding in the North Terrace from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Friday Pick 4, presented by TVG. Guaranteed pool of $200,000.
Friday Happy Hour. Live music and simulcast wagering in the Paddock immediately after Keeneland’s final live race at 5:53 p.m. (ET).