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Breeders' Cup 2017

Animal Kingdom defeated as Declaration of War takes Charge‏

Declaration of War 615 X 400
Photo: Emma-Louise Kerwin (Goodtosoft.co.uk)


They came, they saw, but they could not conquer. In his final start, Animal Kingdom would regretfully be unable to return the Queen Anne Stakes to foreign shores.

Breaking out of stall thirteen, Animal Kingdom was notably keen from the start of the race, pulling for his head throughout the initial stages with John Velazquez unable to settle the star five year old son of Leroidsanimaux.

As the runners headed towards the halfway mark, Velazquez began to signal the warning signs on the dual Group 1 winner, urging the colt to go and win his third race at the highest level in the third different continent. However, the response from his partner was seemingly uncharacteristic in absence.

With the race developing into the business end, Animal Kingdom began to drop back at an alarming rate with the chance of an early American victory slipping away with each and every length relinquished. The runners more familiar to the British and Irish public would settle the race between themselves once more.

"I am sorry it did not work out," said trainer Graham Motion. "It is disappointing for everyone as there was such a good reception for him. It would have been great to see him do his stuff but he clearly didn't today. At the half mile pole he [Velazquez] started to ask him to run and there wasn't much there"

"I always had reservations about what we were dealing with - it became a very awkward post and Johnny had difficulty getting him to settle early. I think that it is probably what hurt Animal Kingdom the most. If he had been drawn in the middle it would have been easier. It is so different - the fact that he was keen early and he did not have any cover, he is so used to being tucked in and when you are out in the open like that it is a different ball game."

"He was keen and just didn't relax," said Velazquez. "When I let him down he gave me no run at all. He just didn't have it today."

Heavily-fancied to land the Lockinge Stakes on his last start, Declaration of War failed to deliver any effort of great substance in the event. However, the faith and belief that Aidan O' Brien had shown in the four year old son of War Front was quickly repaid in abundance today.

Unlike the Lockinge, Declaration of War would provide a strong, sustained run from the back of the pack on the wide outside of the field. Well on top at the end, Declaration of War delivered in the manner of a horse whom may yet prove the one to beat in the European mile division this year after being considered for the Breeders Cup Classic as a three year old last season before those plans were shelved at the eleventh hour.

"We've always thought a lot of him and we learnt a lot from the Lockinge," said O' Brien. "We were disappointed last time and he got very tired but we learnt from that. He is all about speed and stamina and has trained very well since his last race."

"Joseph knew where he wanted to be and was always in a good position. They [Coolmore & Joseph Allen] have a lot of options. We could drop back in trip or stay at a mile."

Having enjoyed rich success in America, this was Joseph Allen's first winner at Royal Ascot in partnership with the Coolmore fraternity. The owner of War Front, Just A Game and Political Force, Allen was delighted with the result in the first race of the internationally respected festival.

"I'm in bliss, it's a wonderful day - I could not be happier," said Allen. "I bred the sire of this horse, War Front, and still have his dam, Tempo West. This is a very difficult game to really sustain yourself and to stay ahead you need great partners."

"I think this horse now has a great future at stud, but where he stands I will leave to John Magnier who knows so much more than I do. These guys have been in the game a long time and add so much to it."

A next start for the colt could come in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood if O' Brien opts for the mile route whilst the Darley July Cup would seem the obvious alternative should they opt for a drop back in trip. 


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Older Comments about Animal Kingdom defeated as Declaration of War takes Charge‏...

Better to try and fail than fail to try! Kudos to the connection!
HRN seemed excited at the prospect of AK @ Ascot >> you’re stirring an empty pot t..
I don't understand the point being raised that Animal Kingdom via his connections deserted his fans in America by racing in England. Speaking for myself as a fan I was excited at the prospect of seeing him race on a different shaped course (undulated) and I felt no sense of betrayal. I did expect a different result but I certainly don't feel betrayed by the connections of AK racing in a different venue. I would love to see more of it.
kaitlinefree1, agreed
hes one of the best now. thats for sure.
Rosario has never been the world's best jockey
sullivan,maybe your post would of held more strength prior to the race,that is when i brought up the point.yet all believed the nonsense that they were looking for a jock with experience.imagine that,rosario is the worlds best jockey til the present. yet,he needs experience to ride a straightaway turf course.my lord how did he ever negotiate all those turns in dubai.inside tip, he did not. the horse was so good that day,he did all the work . joel was just a fortunate passenger.an honest question to all the loyal A.K. fans. you kept defending his connections. how do you feel that he betrayed all of you by running him in a race in england as his farewell appearance.would it not of been better to race in the U.S.A where he arguably has the biggestt and loyal group of fans.yet they raced him in england.go figure.here they would of put on a show.they would of given him the send off he deserved. should of been able to take his final bows.maybe should of raced at CD on foster night.they are very good for promoting horses.i am sure they could of even written a special race for him.it would of been convenient,in a basically mid-western venue.many fans could of attended.but the owners decided to continue to try and sell him off as a globetrotting sire. CD would of been perfect.he would of returned to the scene where he ran a great race and made the world recognize him.that day,he joined a very elite fraternity.he became a KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER. a title many have yearned for,spent millions and millions to achieve.a heros farewell would of been very desrvibg and nice.but to the owners of A.K. . i am sure the fans here now know how julius ceaser felt when brutus stuck the infamous knife.this rant does not include mr. graham motion.he is a classy gentleman.he was tossed to the side by the owners prior to the race.the only reason he was allowed to train A.K. was to make it seem they were going after a major challenge. how wrong they were.good luck A.K. ,enjoy aussie land.to bad you boarded a plane from the wrong continent to get on with your 2nd carreer.
@icy. .. The connection wanted johnny for this experience on the long straight way.
I think Rosario should've stayed up, I trust him more not to interfere with AK doing his thing
I'm curious about something. Did Rosario lose the mout or give it up after his big cash in Dubai and let JV back up his talk, maybe knowing the horse a little better than all of them.BTW: POE on that day wasn't going to lose coming the last 5/8 mile in 56.1
I was more surprised than disappointed in AK's last race. I really thought he was going to run big. But you can't be too disappointed in a horse who "walked the talk" by not dodging the competition and ran in the Derby, World Cup, and Breeder's Cup. Happy trails!
toni arias von hohenzollern.. the problem.. not is "beyer".. americains.. its aceleration.. "rush final".. ok ?
declaration of war.. great horse impressionante.. congratulation.
toni arias von hohenzollern the way correct hith 10 horses is rigth our left.... "no pelotone,caro" the problem is aceleration..."recomendation fair way"..my old line... the problem tactic jockey & trainer.. "animal kingdom its very very very better"
I love Animal Kingdom! Thank you Animal Kingdom and Team Valor for all the excitement his career has brought to horse racing! Long Live Animal Kingdom!! Beautiful, athletic and all too "human"... took the loss like a champ, though!
thomas,his derby was great.his dubai was fantastic.my beef is not with the horse.i strongly believe he had no say where he ran,unless someone knows different.
Enjoy retirement AK and you will be the King of that Kingdom because I'm pretty sure broodmares will be lining up for the "Wares" you've been advertising. :-)
Good Horse loved the Kentucky Derby. Tom
All the Best to you Animal Kingdom. You are an awesome horse.
I think he should have allowed him his head in a straight line. Still, a Kentucky Derby and a Dubai World Cup with a screw in your leg is a pretty good resume..

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