Animal Kingdom will return in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Mile on the turf at Santa Anita Park on November 3 with a chance to become the first Kentucky Derby winner to go on to Breeders Cup glory since Unbridled in 1990.
The reigning champion 3-year-old male of 2011 scored an easy turf win on February 18 at Gulfstream Park in his only start this year. He developed a stress fracture of the illium 3 weeks later 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. Animal Kingdom resumed training in June and began breezing on August 21. 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.