He was just another plugger until handed to Maryland trainer Graham Motion, who stabled two-year-old Animal Kingdom at the Fair Hill Training Center near Elkton. The marriage worked: The chestnut colt won the 2011 Kentucky Derby as a 20-1 longshot who'd never raced on dirt, and with a jockey (Johnny Velasquez) who'd never ridden him before. Was Animal Kingdom a one-race wonder? Though a strong second in the Preakness, he was bumped in the Belmont Stakes, suffered a slight leg fracture and finished sixth. But he roared back in March, as a five-year-old, winning the Dubai World Cup. He scored that two-length victory in the world's richest horse race under Joel Rosario, who rode Orb to a Kentucky Derby win two weeks ago.
Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE