Edited Team Valor release:
Graham Motion, the trainer of Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom, decided after walking the course at Ascot this week that the Queen Anne Stakes, Royal meeting’s opening race over a mile, will be the Kentucky-bred’s target in his career finale on June 18.
“We had discussed the possibility of either the Queen Anne Stakes or the Prince of Wales’s Stakes,” said Motion. “But after walking the course, I feel the mile in the Queen Anne will afford our horse plenty of ground. We had only considered the other race because it is run over the same mile-and-a-quarter distance as the Kentucky Derby and World Cup.
“The owners (Arrowfield Stud, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and Team Valor International) prefer a credential for the horse at a mile and I think the uphill nature of the Ascot course will be a stiff enough test to allow his stamina to come into play.
“The mile at Ascot is closer to a mile-and-an-eighth race in America because of the layout and if Animal Kingdom were racing in America at this time, we probably would be running him over that distance. The Queen Anne also fits nicely into my training schedule for Animal Kingdom since we freshened him up after his trip to Dubai.
Animal Kingdom finished second to eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last November in his first start in eight months. After finishing second to multiple Grade I winner Point of Entry in the Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, Animal Kingdom earned his first graded stakes victory since winning the 2011 Kentucky Derby when he became the first North American-based runner since 2009 to capture the $10 million Dubai World Cup in March.