Saturday, May 7, 2011

Animal Kingdom Wins Derby Roses

It was, indeed, a wide open Kentucky Derby today. Animal Kingdom, who won with a rush, had never raced on dirt before; it was only the fifth race of the chestnut colt's career; and he hadn't raced in 6 weeks. The great Exterminator, who won the Derby in 1918, was the last colt to win with the Derby as his fifth race. And it was 55 years ago that Needles won the Derby after a six-week lay off.
*John Velasquez, the jockey on Animal Kingdom, is the regular rider for Uncle Mo, who was scratched from the race yesterday. Animal Kingdom was scheduled to have Robby Albarado on board, but Albarado took a fall at the track on Wednesday that broke his nose and required stitches in his forehead. The owners and trainers of Animal Kingdom were not sure that Albarado would be at 100% for today's race, so they switched to the rideless Velasquez.
*Animal Kingdom, a chestnut son of Brazilian sire Leroidesanimaux, was born on March 20 in Kentucky and races for Team Valor. His trainer is H. Graham Motion, who is also the trainer of Toby's Corner. His great-grandsires are Blushing Groom, Ahonoora (GB), Surumu (GER), and Dancing Brave. Animal Kingdom paid $43.80 on a $2 win ticket; Nehro ($8.80) was second; and Mucho Macho Man was third (paying $7). Shackleford, the blaze faced chestnut who led for most of the race, finished fourth. A $2 perfecta bet paid $329.80; the trifecta paid $3,952.40; and the $2 superfecta paid $48,126.+. A record crowd of 164,858 people were at Churchill Downs to see Animal Kingdom win in 2 minutes, 2.04 seconds.
*Archarcharch was pulling against jockey Jon Court for the entire race. The saddle slipped forward, and Archarcharch was out of contention after the first quarter-mile. Archarcharch was lame at the finish line. Jockey Court pulled him up, an inflatable cast was placed on his leg, and he loaded willingly onto the horse ambulance under his own power. X-rays taken as soon as he returned to his stall show that he suffered a lateral condylar fracture of the foreleg. He'll have corrective surgery tomorrow, and will start back in training as soon as the vets' give the OK.
*How did my picks do? I pretty much stank again this year! Master Of Hounds finished 5th; Santiva finished 6th; Soldat was 11th; Stay Thirsty was 12th; and Midnight Interlude came in 16th. Twice The Appeal, with Calvin Borel aboard, finished 10th. Rosie Napravnik on Pants On Fire, and Dialed In, the betting favorite, were never a threat to the winner.

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