Arrowfield Stud has acquired a majority interest in the breeding rights to Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.
Team Valor International, which bred and campaigned the four-year-old son of Leroidesanimaux, will maintain a significant interest in his stud career. Present plans call for Animal Kingdom to run in the G1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on February 9 as a prep for the G1 Dubai World Cup on March 31.
After the World Cup, he could be flown from Dubai to England for an additional start at Royal Ascot in June.
Animal Kingdom will cover his first mares in the Hunter Valley before shuttling back to North America for 2014. “He excites us as a rare kind of athlete with a truly international pedigree who is able to express his class on a range of surfaces,” Arrowfield chairman John Messara said. “He is already rated among the world’s elite turf milers and has the potential to become a global superstar in 2013.”
Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin has fielded a regular stream of offers for Animal Kingdom’s stud career ever since his near-three length victory in the 2011 Kentucky Derby. He followed the Run for the Roses with a half-length second in the Preakness Stakes after battling in the straight with Shackleford.
The gleaming chestnut would only race one more time as a three year-old when finishing a nightmare sixth in June’s Belmont Stakes. Animal Kingdom was slammed hard and clipped heels at the start, nearly losing jockey John Velazquez, but managed to recover and finish the race. He exited the Belmont with a left hind leg injury that kept him sidelined until a turf claimer victory at Gulfstream Park in February.
Animal Kingdom was most recently runner-up to Wise Dan in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile in just his third start on turf. He has compiled 9: 4-4-0 record and banked over $2.32 million.
“Originally it was our intention to race Animal Kingdom for the entire 2013 season,” Irwin explained. “However, the prospect of getting the support of John Messara in the southern hemisphere was so meaningful, that I advised my partners to take the deal.
“It is critically important to get a history-making stallion master behind a new prospect and in John Messara we have that. He has developed two of the world’s most successful sires in Danehill and his son Redoute’s Choice. No way I was going to pass up this opportunity.”
Team Valor will form broodmare partnerships to breed to Animal Kingdom, with the plan of selling and racing his offspring around the globe.