Animal Kingdom’s possessor, trainer and jockey has every reason to feel self-assured regarding their options in the Belmont Stakes after the Kentucky Derby winner’s previous workout for Saturday’s ending leg of the Triple Crown.
Barry Irwin, president of owner Team Valor International, said after Animal Kingdom posted the quickest four-furlong workout at Belmont Park on Monday morning, “I think he was moving great. I think he’s got a lot of energy still. I think that’s the key with him. He doesn’t look like a tired horse, or anything.”
Animal Kingdom with Velazquez on board, ran in company with one more horse from Graham Motion, trainer of barn and covered four furlongs in 47.76 seconds, the quickest of 32 times at the distance. He dashed out five furlongs in 1:00.60.
Motion said, “He did it all on his own. He galloped out nicely. I don’t think it could have gone any smoother, really. I thought he might go a tick slower but I’m not surprised he did what he did.”
Derby runner-up Nehro ran four furlongs in 50.88 seconds in his last Belmont enhance under exercise raider Cesar Garcia, between the sluggishness times at the distance.
Animal Kingdom ended second to Shackleford in the Preakness, and will try to turn into the 12th horse to succeed the Derby and the Belmont. The fourth in the Derby was Shackleford, will try to turn out to be the 19th Preakness-Belmont winner.
Animal Kingdom named most the shots throughout the breeze, Velazquez said.
Velazquez said, “He was halfway running off with me. I took him as slowly as I could. He got very competitive with the other horse. After he passed him after the wire, he kept galloping very strong. He knew he had the jockey on top of him because he just played with me. He had me at `Hello.”’
A possible field of 12 is forming up for the 1 ½-mile Belmont, which features the first Derby winner against Preakness winner matchup since 2005. It as well can have the first seven finishers from the Derby-Animal Kingdom, Nehro, Mucho Macha Man, Shackleford, Master of Hounds, Santiva and Brillian Speed.
This coming Wednesday was the post position.