Animal Kingdom's career is once again on hold.
Last year's Kentucky Derby winner came up lame -- with soreness in the same leg that required surgery last June -- during a training run in Florida according to his Maryland-based trainer, Graham Motion.
"Disappointed for everyone involved," he wrote on Twitter, "especially the horse. Hope to get him back on the track."
Motion and Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin had planned for Animal Kingdom, who had run in just one race since being hurt in the Belmont, to run in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 31.
“This is a crushing blow for our company and our partners as well as our trainer, who has done such a great job getting the horse back to this point,” Irwin said. “If he comes out of this OK, hopefully we can run in the World Cup in 2013.”
Animal Kingdom worked 5 furlongs on Saturday at Palm Meadows, his first serious drill since he won a turf allowance race at Gulfstream Park on February 18. But by Sunday morning he was favoring his left hind leg, the same one in which he suffered a hairline fracture of the hock that caused him to miss the latter half of last season. According to a statement from Team Valor, the horse is still being examined and no determination has been made on the source of the pain.
Animal Kingdom won his return race in typical, stirring Animal Kingdom fashion.
His memorable late charge couldn't get him past Shackelford at last year's Preakness.