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No World Cup for Animal Kingdom

3/12/2012

Two days after 3-year-old male champion Animal Kingdom breezed five furlongs on the turf at Palm Meadows Training Center, his trip to the $10 million Dubai World Cup March 31 has been scrapped.

Trainer Graham Motion, in a Twitter message sent the morning of March 12, said the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner by Leroidesanimaux "came out of his work sore in the same leg he injured" in last year's Belmont Stakes. Motion said Animal Kingdom would not be going to Dubai.

When contacted March 12 Barry Irwin, chief executive officer of Team Valor International, which races the homebred 4-year-old in a partnership, declined to immediately answer questions. "Right now I've got to call my clients," Irwin said.

Word had spread around the Gulfstream Park backstretch that jockey John Velazquez's agent had been seeking mounts for the jockey for Dubai World Cup day. Reached by phone, agent Tito Fuentes said he didn't believe Velazquez would be making the trip to Dubai.

When asked about Animal Kingdom's status, Fuentes said he could not comment on the situation.

Velazquez rode Animal Kingdom to victory in the Kentucky Derby and has been aboard the colt for his last four starts, including his winning 2012 debut at Gulfstream Feb. 18. That race was the colt's first start since incurring a fracture in his left hind leg during the June 11 Belmont Stakes that required surgery and a long recovery period.

Animal Kingdom's five-furlong breeze March 10 was reported as being completed in 1:04.80, the fastest of two moves at the distance that day and on that surface at Palm Meadows.