Animal Kingdom Horse
Animal Kingdom Horse

Animal Kingdom

(Image : Cecil Scene)

$10,000,000 DUBAI WORLD CUP (Group 1)

Meydan, All Weather, 2000m

30 March 2013

America’s TDN ran an illuminating scientific study on Animal Kingdom’s victory in the Dubai World Cup yesterday. Here it is:

How impressive was Animal Kingdom?

Quite. The first winner of the G1 Kentucky Derby/G1 Dubai World Cup double since Silver Charm capped the feat in 1998, Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux) plotted a wide, but clear trip from an outside barrier draw Saturday. His final winning margin of two lengths was misleadingly cozy. At the finish, Animal Kingdom traveled 17 metres more than Red Cadeaux (GB) (Cadeaux Genereux), closing fast at the rail. Covering an extra 17 meters is the equivalent of approximately 6.5 lengths of added ground traveled. Adjusting the final margin of victory for this ground coverage suggests that the Graham Motion trainee was more than eight lengths better than rail-skimming Red Cadeaux. Given several days to absorb the data, it seems appropriate to suggest Animal Kingdom ran the best race of his life to date.

One added way to review the data from the Dubai World Cup is to compare the average speeds of horses. Horses asked to plot wider courses have to run faster to maintain their position. If four horses were lined across the course and began to corner, in order for a widely planted horse to hold his position, he would absolutely have to run faster than a horse to his inside. Animal Kingdom never lost position in running, expending more energy with the highest cruising speed in running.

After 1,200 meters of the Dubai World Cup, here is the position of each horse, in order, with their average speed to this point in the race.

Following these first six furlongs, Animal Kingdom had traveled seven meters (about 2 3/4 lengths) more than leader Royal Delta (Empire Maker), and 11 meters (about 4 1/4 lengths) more than Red Cadeaux.

At the finish, Animal Kingdom was still in control, running the second fastest final 100 metres behind only Red Cadeaux’s time, and averaging 0.7 kph more than that rival over the course of the race. Overall, Animal Kingdom’s individual sectional times are massively impressive, running 0.33 seconds faster in his fifth 400-meter segment than the fourth segment, and clocking the single fastest split in the race, from the 1600-meter pole to the 1200-meter pole in :23.20. Once Joel Rosario recognized that neither Planteur (Ire) (Danehill Dancer), who made all the running in his previous race, nor African Story (GB) (Pivotal), stretching-out off mid-pack trips in one-turn races, were interested in running forward, Rosario seized the initiative and prompted the obvious front-runner in Royal Delta.

Take note of Animal Kingdom’s sectional times below (North American readers should note that race-timing in the UAE, and much of the world, begins with an electric pulse tied to the starter’s gate-opening mechanism, yielding the slow, in appearance, opening quarter).

Animal Kingdom’s Sectional Times











While the entire final 400-meter segment of the race is run in the home stretch, given Animal Kingdom’s earlier fractions, his ability to stay on really puts this performance into magnificent territory. In three previous runnings of this race at Meydan, Gloria De Campeao (Brz) (Impression) walked slow and free on the lead, Victoire Pisa (Jpn) (Neo Universe)’s fastest 400m segment was his last after he made a last-to-first backstretch move into a mind-bogglingly slow pace, and Monterosso (Fr) (Invincible Spirit) had the pleasure of running into the fastest of the four early paces in the running of the race on Tapeta.

Over the history of all-weather racing at Meydan, 38 races out of 51 at 1,200 metres were faster than the 2013 G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, 46 races out of 49 at 1,900 meters were faster than the 2013 G2 UAE Derby, and 59 out of 65 races at 1,600 meters were faster than the 2013 G2 Godolphin Mile.

The all-weather surface at Meydan has shown a tendency to quicken slightly as temperatures cool in the desert, a phenomenon experienced in past years. The sun was setting as the Derby ran, while it was dark during the Golden Shaheen. Still, there was no cold front that swooped in and provided a wildly different course roughly two hours after the Golden Shaheen; let there be no doubt that Animal Kingdom’s race in the Dubai World Cup was phenomenal. Overall, this year’s edition ranks as the fifth-fastest race from 31 at the distance, significantly faster than the trends from earlier races on the night.

Wherever Animal Kingdom goes from here, there is no doubting his performance in the 2013 Dubai World Cup will rank as one of his most impressive.

Makes you wonder how good Golden Sword was, at his best. To this day, no horse has bettered his 2000 metre record for Dubai, and to put it into perspective, remember there have been 18 renewals of the Dubai World Cup at the distance.

Editor’s Note: We were recently in touch with Barry Irwin (CEO Team Valor) and owner and breeder of Animal Kingdom. This is what he had to say about the horse:

“I am glad most of all for what the horse has been able to do for himself. He is a real character and has a wellspring of talent that is very deep. The good ones need the right temperament and interest in order to capitalize on their talent and this horse fortunately is the complete package.”