Animal Kingdom fails in Royal Ascot farewell

Incoming Arrowfield Stud sire Animal Kingdom was soundly beaten in his farewell to racing at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux) started a short-priced favourite in the G1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m) but never raised the hopes of his supporters.  He pulled hard and then lost ground fully two furlongs from the finish.

The 2011 Kentucky Derby and 2013 Dubai World Cup winner trailed home 11 lengths behind Coolmore Stud’s USA bred colt Declaration Of War.  “It took the wind out of our sails,” trainer Graham Motion said.  “There was no fairytale ending but no one said racing was meant to be easy.  We’ve had a great run.”

Animal Kingdom had pleased connections since travelling from Dubai to England in April but, for whatever reason, the horse was nothing close to himself on Tuesday.  “He was pretty keen and didn’t get to relax the way I wanted him to,” jockey John Velazquez said.  “Finally, when I let him go, he didn’t come up with any run.  I rode him out, but there was no point.  He just didn’t have it at all.”

Animal Kingdom retires with a 12-5-5-0 career card and earnings of $8.30 million.  He will be exported to Arrowfield Stud’s Australian base in time for the southern serving season and then shuttle to Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Kentucky.

“The run was too bad to be true,” Arrowfield Stud’s John Messara said.  “It’s disappointing but I’m very excited and proud to have Animal Kingdom join our roster.”

Arrowfield Stud has placed a $38,500 (inc gst) fee on Animal Kingdom’s services this year.