Animal Kingdom might stay at Fair Hill

Motion says he'd like to keep Derby winner 'where he's used to being'

May 17, 2011|By Kevin Van Valkenburg, The Baltimore Sun

Trainer Graham Motion said Monday that he's leaning strongly toward bringing Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom to Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, the day of the Preakness Stakes, instead of bringing him in Friday and having him stay overnight in an unfamiliar environment.

Since he won the Derby on May 7, Animal Kingdom has been settling in at his new home at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, where Motion has his base of operations.

"I'm really thinking I'm leaning that way right now," Motion said. "I'm just not sure I see any benefit to bringing him in on Friday. I think it's just better to keep him where he's used to being right now. There is not a lot of need to uproot him."

Motion said Animal Kingdom jogged a mile and a half on the Fair Hill race track Monday morning, and that everything went well. The trainer said he has no plans to push the horse much harder this week. He'll likely have a bit stronger gallop on Thursday, but nothing too intense.

"Everything looks good right now," Motion said. "We've had a pretty calm week."

Motion said he doubts Animal Kingdom will need anything like a police escort on Saturday when he makes the hour-and-a-half drive to Pimlico. The trainer has a handful of other horses on the card that day, and will simply leave Fair Hill early enough that traffic won't be an issue.

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