Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, is back on the training track at the Fair Hill Training Center and being pointed toward the $10 million Dubai World Cup in late March.
Trainer Graham Motion couldn't keep the delight from his voice as he talked about getting Animal Kingdom and Toby's Corner back onto the racetrack. Both have recovered from injuries that sidelined them for the second half of their 3-year-old seasons.
"I think Animal Kingdom should still be a front-runner for the 3-year-old Eclipse Award," Motion said. "No one else has done more than he has. But it has been frustrating to have two of the best 3-year-olds I've ever trained and have them both in the barn unable to race."
Animal Kingdom had surgery to repair a slab fracture in his left hind leg after being bumped, clipping heels and stumbling at the start of the Belmont Stakes.
And Toby's Corner, the Wood Memorial winner, who could have been the Derby favorite, was sidelined the week before the race with a mysterious left hind leg issue that has never been diagnosed.
"They're both back in training," Motion said. "Both horses are doing very well and I'm hoping they both have big 4-year-old seasons."