Click above to watch Animal Kingdom at Fair Hill Training Center and
Barry Irwin at the Preakness 136 post position draw.
(Footage : Thoroughbred Times)
PREAKNESS STAKES (Grade 1)
Pimlico, 21 May 2010
Having won the first leg, the Kentucky Derby, only Team Valor’s Animal Kingdom can win America’s Triple Crown, an achievement which has eluded everyone since Affirmed beat Alydar in all three legs in 1978.
The Derby hero has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite for Saturday’s G1 Preakness Stakes. The chestnut drew the 11 hole as he continues his Triple Crown quest. “Considering what was left - the one or the 14 – I’m very happy,” said trainer Graham Motion. “I would rather be on the outside than stuck down on the inside.” Motion added that the colt was in fine fettle. “I’d like to say he’s doing even better (than before the Derby),” the Englishman commented. “I’m not trying to be cute, but he hasn’t missed a meal since. I couldn’t be happier.” Motion confirmed that the 3-year-old will van over to Pimlico from Fair Hill Training Center Saturday morning. “I’ve got seven or eight others running that day, and they’re all shipping in in the morning. I’d rather leave him in his stall until he has to leave.”
Steve Sherack writes in the Thoroughbred Daily News that with the majority of G1 Preakness Stakes starters slated to arrive at Pimlico late on Wednesday, the place to be yesterday morning was Fair Hill Training Center, current digs of G1 Kentucky Derby hero Animal Kingdom. Located on a breathtaking piece of property in Cecil County, Maryland, the facility - a scenic 15 minute drive off I-95 and about 60 miles from Pimlico - is spread out over 350 stunning acres, with an additional 5,600 acres of state land adjoining.
On a damp, overcast morning with temperatures in the 60s following another night of rain, media packed the wooden-framed clocker’s stand as Animal Kingdom departed Graham Motion’s barn shortly before 9am. Team Valor principal and former Turf writer Barry Irwin fit right in among the crowd of approximately 30 as the sun tried to peak through the threatening dark clouds while Motion walked with a set of trainees, keeping a close eye on the big horse.
With the Fair Hill main track left saturated, Animal Kingdom, accompanied by a stable pony, made his way through the underground tunnel to the all-weather Tapeta inner track. The chestnut, sporting a white Preakness saddle cloth, was curious to see what all the fuss was about when jogging by the clocker’s stand for the first time, but was all business throughout his strong 1 3/4-mile gallop. Irwin, rocking his regular shades and a flashy yellow striped cap, was the first to exit the stand once the G3 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes winner’s work was complete. Motion patiently awaited Animal Kingdom’s return from the track, then led the cavalry charge on foot back through the adjacent woods to his shedrow just before 9:30 am.
Irwin held court outside of the barn as Animal Kingdom cooled out under the watchful eye of his trainer. How has the homebred handled all of the attention since winning the Run for the Roses? Apparently, quite well. He wouldn’t go back to the barn after grazing in front of a crowd on Tuesday until a pony came out to get him, per Irwin. “He thinks he’s running the show, and he probably is,” Irwin deadpanned.
Badge Of Silver
MUCHO MACHO MAN
ISN’T HE PERFECT
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News