March 30, 2013, Dubai Meydan ~ With effortless looking but ground devouring strikes, Animal Kingdom crushed his competition in the 18th running of the G1 US$10 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline on March 30.
Now owned in partnership by Australia’s Arrowfield Stud and the Team Valor International racing partnership based in the United States, Animal Kingdom stunned even his owners with his remarkable victory by two lengths over late running Red Cadeaux in the world’s richest race at Meydan.
“That was shocking,” exclaimed Team Valor Chief Executive Officer Barry Irwin. “I thought he could win but I didn’t think he could win like that. He proved that not only is he a top horse, but that he is one of the top horses in the world.”
“It’s unbelievable,” said a beaming jockey, Joel Rosario, who waved his whip to cheers and applause as Animal Kingdom strode into the winner’s circle. “He’s a very good horse; he’s very quick.”
Rosario steered Animal Kingdom to loom outside two-time American champion filly Royal Delta, who had set fractions of :26.59, :50.02 and 1:13.63 under Mike Smith, before they swooped to the lead coming out of the far turn. In just a few steps, Animal Kingdom opened up several lengths—and the race was over.
Animal Kingdom, winner of the 2011 G1 Kentucky Derby off a stakes victory on the all-weather Turfway Park track, crossed the finish line in 2:03.21 for the 2000 metres, earning US$6 million for his efforts. Trained by English-born Graham Motion, Animal Kingdom now has a career record of five wins in 11 starts with earnings of $8,387,500.
The victory by the five-year-old son of Leroidesanimaux marked the first by an American-based and –trained runner in the Dubai World Cup since Meydan opened with an all-weather surface in 2010, replacing the dirt track at the old Nad Al Sheba Racecourse on which American runners frequently prevailed.
Red Cadeaux unleashed a strong rally from ninth after 1600 metres to gain the runner-up prize.
“This horse never ceases to amaze me. To run second in the Dubai World Cup and get within two lengths of Animal Kingdom, I’ve got to be happy with that,” said jockey Gerald Mosse.
Planteur, recently acquired by Qatar’s Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, finished third, 4 3/4 lengths behind Red Cadeaux.
“He was third last year, third this year. I was happy enough with his run,” said jockey Ryan Moore.
The remaining order of finish was Side Glance, African Story, Meandre, Hunter’s Light, Treasure Beach, Kassiano, Royal Delta, Dullahan and Cappon.
Godolphin’s Hunter’s Light, the early favorite in the race off his victory in the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round III on March 9, raced in second early but could not keep up in the latter stages.
“He had every chance. He just wasn’t good enough at this level,” said jockey Silvestre de Sousa.
Royal Delta “just didn’t seem to care for it,” Smith said of his mount’s performance on the track surface. “Every time she had to pick it up, she struggled.”
Animal Kingdom’s win was the ninth in the Dubai World Cup by an American-based horse out of the 18 runnings and the first since the race switched to Meydan. The earlier winners were Cigar, Silver Charm, Captain Steve, Pleasantly Perfect, Roses in May, Invasor, Curlin and Well Armed.
The 2012 winner, Monterosso, was withdrawn before the race. The Godolphin horse was reported to be lame.