Derby & Animal Kingdom
May 8, 2011 by staff
Derby & Animal Kingdom, Animal rushed into history Saturday, unleashing a powerful stretch run to win the 137th Kentucky Derby by 23 / 4 lengths over Nehra before a record crowd of 164,858 at Churchill Downs.
It was a surprising result that landed jockey John Velazquez and trainer Graham Motion on the Derby winner’s circle for the first time after they apparently saw their best hopes dashed early in the week.
“This is the race we all want,” said Velazquez, who picked up the mount on 20-1 Animal Kingdom the day before. “Now I can say I have a check mark in it.”
Vel? Zquez, whose best finish in 12 prior Derby mount was second, lost his scheduled trip in the morning when the great 2-year-old champion Uncle Mo was found with internal disease.
Hours after Uncle Mo was scratched, Vel? Zquez was appointed to replace Robby Albarado, who was injured in a spill before the race on Wednesday and do not travel on Thursday or Friday.
“I guess when it’s supposed to be for you, is intended to be for you,” Velazquez said. “No matter what happens.”
Movement crushing blow came when the New York Wood Memorial winner Toby’s Corner showed lameness the day before he was to travel from Maryland to Louisville. But the movement still believed there was a big fish in Animal Kingdom, the vine Turfway Spiral race winner who had run only four times and never in real land.
“I’m pretty emotional anyway,” said the motion on the podium winner’s circle. “But this is just extraordinary. This horse was so strong today. Johnny gave an amazing trip. It’s just a magnificent animal.”
Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor syndicate International bred and owns the Animal Kingdom, the victory eased the pain of Captain Bodgit the union is losing the 1997 Derby by a head to Silver Charm.
“When this happens, it’s just surreal,” said Irwin. “You see. You know what happens.’re there. But it is difficult to prosecute.”
Animal Kingdom Velazquez had moved to 12 in the field of 19 3 years of age in the early stages. He was very clear in the race before shooting the horses rounding the final turn, coming in fifth place and quickly gaining on the leaders from the outside.
Velazquez said that as soon as Animal Kingdom back in the clear at the top of the stretch, “he gave me that feeling, man, that was underway. I said, ‘Well, let me save a little.” When I reached the eighth pole, I asked for everything you can. Arrived at the head and ran. ”
Animal Kingdom ended 11 / 4 miles in 2:02.04, his last quarter mile in a strong 24 seconds. Paid and 43.80, and 19.60 and 13 and to show how the choice of 11 in a field where most likely in any horse was 39-1.
In a race considered wide, winning the Florida Derby Dialed came to just over 5-1. It was a period of more than three-quarters of a mile before a race to finish eighth, running trainer Nick Zito hopes for a third Kentucky Derby.
“It was the way envisaged in the back,” jockey Julien Leparoux. “But a backup for us today.”
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