Animal Kingdom roars in Dubai World Cup

Animal Kingdom has cemented his ranking among the world’s very best racehorses with an exceptional victory in the $US10 million Dubai World Cup 2000m G1, held just after 5 am today (Australian Eastern Daylight Time).

Pictured: Animal Kingdom & Joel Rosario win the Emirates-sponsored Dubai World Cup for owners Arrowfield Stud & Team Valor and trainer Graham Motion. (PHOTO: Jon Siegel)

It is Animal Kingdom’s second Group 1 success, following the 2011 Kentucky Derby G1 which he famously won at his first start on dirt.

Arrowfield Stud purchased a majority interest in Animal Kingdom last December, after his eye-catching second to US Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile G1 on turf. The charismatic son of Leroisdesanimaux resumed this year with a second to Point of Entry in the Gulfstream Turf Handicap G1 on 9 February before travelling to Dubai.

Animal Kingdom’s Dubai World Cup success has added a couple of significant firsts to a career record already full of them.

He is the first Australian-owned horse to win the race and the first US-owned and -trained horse to win the world’s richest horse race, since it has been held on the synthetic Tapeta track at Meydan which opened in 2010. US horses had won 8 of the 14 previous runnings from 1996 to 2009.

Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux (BRZ)-Dalicia (GER) by Acatenango) was bred in the United States by Team Valor which co-owns him, is trained by the highly regarded Englishman Graham Motion and was ridden by Joel Rosario whose decision to progress forward steadily through the turn into the back straight proved to be a winning move.

That allowed Animal Kingdom, who had jumped from Barrier 11, to slot in full of running behind the leader, four-time Group 1 winner Royal Delta, with their 10 rivals spread out behind them.

As Royal Delta turned for home, Rosario asked Animal Kingdom to move up alongside her, and then to accelerate. The response from the magnificent chestnut 5YO was devastating, as he powered well clear of the field. Only Red Cadeaux could muster a chase, but he was still two lengths in arrears as Animal Kingdom cruised to the line in a time of 2.03.21.

Graham Motion said afterwards, “”He’s an extraordinary animal. The way he won tonight reminded me of the way he won the Kentucky Derby.””

Animal Kingdom’s prizemoney now totals almost $US8 million from five wins and five second placings in 11 starts. Remarkably, he has now won or placed in four of the world’s best Group 1 races (Dubai World Cup, Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes & Breeders’ Cup Mile) on all three racing surfaces: turf, dirt and synthetic.

As Jon Freyer, Arrowfield’s Bloodstock Manager, says, “”He’s a superb horse without the win today, but today lets everybody in the world know that he’s one of the finest racehorses on the planet.””

The World Cup success completed a very special double for rrowfield’s owners, John & Kris Messara whose son Paul trained Ortensia to win the Al Quoz Sprint G1 at last year’s Dubai World Cup meeting.

Watch the Arrowfield team cheering Animal Kingdom home in the latest edition of the Dubai Video Diaries, here .

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