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The Story of a Horse of A Lifetime...

May 28, 2013

Arrowfield Stud

Animal Kingdom has carved his own special path to global stardom in a history-making career that will bring him finally toArrowfield Stud’s powerful stallion roster this spring.

It’s a path he seemed destined to take before he was born at Denali Stud in Kentucky on 20 March 2008. By an outstanding Brazilian-bred grandson of Blushing Groom from a Group-winning German-bred mare, Animal Kingdom represents a fusion of old and new world genetics tailored for elite 21st century competition.

That boundary-breaking pedigree has produced a sublime athlete whose career has mostly unfolded beyond the borders of expectation and the limitations of history.

Bred and built to be a turf specialist but foaled in a nation where dirt is the dominant racing surface, Animal Kingdom won the 2011 Kentucky Derby G1 with commanding ease at his first start on dirt, a feat unmatched in the 139-year record of the race billed as The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.

After an early 4YO campaign frustrated by injury and almost 9 months away from the track, he returned to beat all but US Horse of the Year Wise Dan in a record-breaking Breeders’ Cup Mile G1 on turf last November.

That was enough to convince John Messara that, like Danehill and Redoute’s Choice, this was a horse he simply had to own. Arrowfield, and a small group of partners including leading Western Australian owner and breeder Bob Peters, purchased a majority interest in Animal Kingdom before Christmas 2012.

In March this year he became the first US-trained winner of the2000-metre Dubai World Cup G1 since it has been held on the testing synthetic surface of Meydan. Posting sectional times that would also have won the 1000-metre and 1600-metre features on the same card, Animal Kingdom romped home by two lengths. That was despite covering 17 metres (about 6.5 lengths) more ground than the runner-up Red Cadeaux.

Five days later it was announced that Sheikh Mohammed had bought into Animal Kingdom, who will spend future northern hemisphere seasons at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Kentucky.

At the end of April the World Thoroughbred Rankings confirmed Animal Kingdom’s status as the world’s best entire, with a rating of 126, ahead of Australia’s acclaimed trio of stud-bound 3YO colts All Too Hard (122), Pierro (121) and It’s A Dundeel (120).

One more frontier remains for the imposing chestnut to cross: the Queen Anne Stakes over Ascot’s straight and undulating turf mile. One of the world’s current top 10 Group 1 events, the Queen Anne is the first race on the first day of the celebrated Royal meeting on Wednesday 18 June.

The history is daunting. No Kentucky Derby winner has ever managed to win a Group 1 race at Royal Ascot, and none has won at that level in England since 1929. Only Dubai Millennium has previously won a Group 1 race in England after winning the World Cup. And only the peerless Secretariat has won at Group 1 level on turf after succeeding in the Kentucky Derby.

Animal Kingdom’s trainer Graham Motion describes him simply as “the horse of a lifetime.” Arrowfield needs no more evidence that Animal Kingdom is indeed exceptional, and neither do Australian breeders now booking to him at a fee of $38,500 inc. GST.