Animal Kingdom 2011 Kentucky Derby
Animal Kingdom 2011 Kentucky Derby, It’s a big weekend for horse fans: The 138th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place on Saturday. For anyone who’s not familiar with the race, a thoroughbred’s win in the Derby is almost always followed up by a run in the Preakness Stakes. If all goes well, it’s then on to the Belmont Stakes in search of the elusive Triple Crown of horse racing.
Once a horse’s 3-year-old racing season is complete, most champions enter retirement and head into the breeding shed for new careers as stallions — with some exceptions, of course. Here’s a look at how the champs of the past five years are now spending their days.
After winning the Derby as a 21-1 longshot in 2011, Animal Kingdom remains a charismatic favorite in the hearts of fans as well as his owners, Team Valor. He notched a close second-place finish in the Preakness, but was then diagnosed with a string of injuries following the Belmont Stakes including one in March that has temporarily sidelined him.
The 4-year-old chestnut colt recently spent 30 days resting in Palm Meadows, Fla., which he’s following up with another two months of R&R at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. While all of this rest probably isn’t as exciting to Animal Kingdom as training and racing, he’s taking it well. “He understands, to some extent, that he’s supposed to be resting,” says Megan Jones, director of client relations for Team Valor.
It helps that Animal Kingdom has plenty of company during his recovery. According to Jones, his team of owners are frequent visitors, and depending on his mood, he’ll either be loving or playful — the latter typically ending in a game of grabbing. (Animal Kingdom believes that all belts and jackets belong to him, not the humans wearing them.) One of his favorite visitors is Dave Rock, an assistant trainer whom Jones says the horse would likely recognize 10 years from now. (MSNBC)