Animal Kingdom 2nd in 2013 campaign debut

At his first start since his outstanding second in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Mile G1, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom has finished second in the $US300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf H. G1 over 9 furlongs (~1800 metres).

PHOTO: Animal Kingdom during trackwork last November.

The race, run just after 8.00 am AEDT, attracted two other Grade 1 winners also opening their 2013 campaigns, Point of Entry and Unbridled Command, winner of November’s Hollywood Derby G1.

Animal Kingdom began well and settled fifth in the field of six, while Point of Entry, piloted by Animal Kingdom’s regular jockey John Velazquez, was ridden handier to the moderate pace set by Salto (IRE).

Then, with 800 metres to run, Animal Kingdom’s rider Joel Rosario unexpectedly drove him forward to make a line of three with Salto between him and Point of Entry on the outside.

Salto dropped back, leaving Point of Entry and Animal Kingdom to contest the finish. Animal Kingdom fought gamely and momentarily had the lead, but Point of Entry prevailed, winning by 1.25 lengths from the son of Leroidesanimaux, with a similar margin to Unbridled Command in third place.

Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey for the Phipps Stable, Point of Entry won five of his six starts in 2012, including three consecutive Grade 1 events, before going down to Little Mike in the Breeders’ Cup Turf G1. His earnings now exceed $US2 million.

Provided he pulls up well after the race, Animal Kingdom will now head to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup G1 on 30 March, with a Royal Ascot campaign also a possibility before he begins his breeding career at Arrowfield Stud.

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