An American-bred son of War Front, Declaration of War won Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot (Photos courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).
Animal Kingdom’s last race didn’t go as planned on Tuesday at Royal Ascot when the Kentucky Derby winner lost to Declaration of War in the Queen Anne Stakes.
Declaration of War was stuck behind a wall of horses at one point as jockey Joseph O’Brien looked for a way to get him clear. However, when a gap appeared, O’Brien gunned the colt to the front and the pair won by ¾ lengths over Aljamaaheer with Gregorian in third.
Animal Kingdom, running in a shadow roll after jumping a shadow in a work last month, looked uncomfortable in the early stages in the race. He settled as the race went on but didn’t seem to have anything left in the end, falling back in the field of 13 to finish 11th. He will now retire to Arrowfield Stud in Australia for his first season at stud.
"It's taken the wind out of our sails, I'm disappointed, who wouldn't be," Graham Motion, Animal Kingdom’s trainer, told Racing Post. "Johnny [Velazquez] said he had no punch at the half-mile. I was worried about the unknowns with him and unfortunately it's caught up with him."
ANIMAL KINGDOM BEFORE THE QUEEN ANNE STAKES
The trip to Royal Ascot was an ambitious one for Animal Kingdom, who hasn’t had the conventional career usually seen from a Kentucky Derby winner. The chestnut came back from two injuries to place in two United States’ Grade 1 events on the turf and win the $10 million Dubai World Cup in the past eight months. He became the first Kentucky Derby winner to run at the Royal Ascot meet since Omaha ran in the Ascot Gold Cup in 1936. Appreciation for Animal Kingdom’s unconventional campaign could be seen on social media soon after the Queen Anne was run.
The Queen Anne Stakes winner’s circle wasn’t missing American flavor however, as Declaration of War is an American-bred by War Front, who stands in Kentucky. Declaration of War spent time in Belmont Stakes winner Todd Pletcher’s barn early in his career but never started for the trainer. He is currently trained by Aidan O’Brien and was ridden by son Joseph O’Brien, the pair that won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf with St Nicholas Abbey.