Animal Kingdom returned to the United States this month after traveling to three different continents after leaving the country last spring (Photos by Melissa Bauer-Herzog).
Traveling more in the past 12 months than many people travel in a lifetime, Animal Kingdom has returned to the United States for the first time in nearly a year.
The son of Leroideanimaux started last year on the racetrack in Florida, where he finished second to Point of Entry in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, but that second-place finish was just a prep race for the worldwide journey to come.
The then 5-year-old shipped over to Dubai for his next start and became the first Kentucky Derby winner since Silver Charm to win the Dubai World Cup. Animal Kingdom impressed the world when he made the win look effortless, taking control in the late stages and winning by an easy two lengths ahead of some of the best horses in the world. The win made the horse an international star, a fact made clear when he traveled to England for the Royal Ascot meet.
“I think he’s got a lot more attention internationally since winning in Dubai,” trainer Graham Motion said after the horse won the Dubai World Cup. “Now that he’s in England, racing is a little more focused … so certainly he’s drawn a lot of attention. And I think also the fact that he’s a Kentucky Derby winner in England, I think people are very excited about that.”
Animal Kingdom put in a disappointing run at Royal Ascot in his final start before heading to his first season at stud in Australia. The stallion finally returned back to the United States in early January. He will stand his first Northern Hemisphere season at Darley in 2014.
ANIMAL KINGDOM SPENT THE SECOND WEEK OF JANUARY BEING INSPECTED BY BREEDERS
“We are excited to have a Derby winner and Dubai World Cup winner,” said Charlie Boden, head of sales at Darley America. “He’s a very popular horse from a fan standpoint and is turning out to be a very popular horse among breeders as well as he’s almost full. He fits in our barn well with the good horses we’ve been blessed to stand.”
Darley welcomed breeders to look at all its stallions, including Animal Kingdom, during Keeneland’s January horses of all ages sale and is welcoming fans to visit the Kentucky Derby winner in the coming months.
“We are open to fans and he’ll be one that certainly attracts a lot of fan interest,” Boden said. “We are well versed in handling fans with the horses that we have here like Holy Bull, who gets a lot of fan interest as well. So we’re expecting a lot of people wanting to come just to see him and we’re ready for them.”
Animal Kingdom will be joining a powerful roster at Darley this season. Fellow Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense is back after spending a year in Japan and Zenyatta’s sire, Street Cry, also is included on the 13-stallion Kentucky roster. Also new to Darley’s Kentucky roster is the Australian-bred Denman, who has stood at Darley’s Australian operation over the past few years.
Fans who want to schedule a visit to Darley’s stallion division can go to Darleystallions.com for more information.
DENMAN IS JOINING ANIMAL KINGDOM AS A NEW STALLION AT DARLEY AMERICA IN 2014