How good is Animal Kingdom, really?

Kentucky Derby Winner

How good is Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, really? 

His pedigree is one of a modest turf horse, but his connection are first-rate with trainer H. Graham Motion and jockey John Velazquez.

His racing resume too was modest before his derby win with just a GIII win at Turfway Park, but a closer look at that resume reveals something a bit different!
Animal Kingdom had always finish first or second in all of his races and never beaten by very much either!
He had run against some very decent, derby level type company in those early races like Wilcox Inn, Decisive Moment, Twinspired and Powhatan County, so he was tested!
So yes, he did deserve a derby gate, but lets look a little deeper at this Kentucky Derby winning performance!
The winning time of 2:02.04 isn’t anything special in the annuls of Derby lure, but it was faster than the following recent derby winners: Super Saver, Mine That Bird, Street Sense, Giacomo, Smarty Jones and most of the 1990’s winners too!
To go one step further, Animal Kingdom’s winning time would have beaten the 2010 Breeders Cup Classic rivals Blame and Zenyatta by a quarter second or about 1 1/4 length!
In other words, those two monsters would have been watching Animal Kingdom go right by them in the very deep Churchill stretch!
Yes, it is a fair comparison because those races were run over the same track, at the same distances over similar track conditions and time of day, plus Animal Kingdom had this much slower pace on Saturday to run at!
No, Animal Kingdom isn’t among the great ones yet, but he has got one leg up towards that end and a 2011 B/C Classic gate right here in Louisville again, if he wants it!
So for right now, he deserves a little respect and the favorite’s role in next Saturday’s 136th Preakness Stakes as he is the 2011 Kentucky Derby champ and the fastest 3yo at a mile and 1/4 in the land!
No one else can say that right now!
So how good is Animal Kingdom, really? 
Well, very good, right now as he is the very essence of a downthestretchs adage that goes “Good horses will run well on everything, Bad horses will run badly over anything”! Animal Kingdom is that rare “Good Horse“!
We will know more on May the 21st when he takes to the Pimlico main track and takes on all comers in what now appears to be a full field of 13 other rivals!


GII Peter Pan Stakes is prep for Belmont Stakes next month!

Belmont Park readies for the Peter Pan this weekend

With the Preakness still more than a week away, we do have some important 3yo action at Belmont Park this weekend in the $200,000 GII Peter Pan Stakes, going 1 1/8 , for 3yo’s only.

The Peter Pan is the prep for the big Belmont Stakes each year!

Last year’s Belmont Stakes winner “Drosselmeyer” finished 2nd here a year ago, so it’s a race worth keeping an eye on!

So lets see who is coming out to race in this year’s edition of this important first step toward to the 3rd Jewel in the 2011 Triple Crown!

Some  Free PP’s  for you to ogle-over!

The Morning/Line favorite is Adios Charlie at 3/1 odds. This one was the victor of the GII Jerome Stakes, a mile tilt, at Aqueduct last month over some sloppy going! He’ll be stretching out to a 1 1/8 distance for the first time on just a 3 race resume. So 3/1 seems a little generous to us, but wait, there are a bunch stacked-up right behind him odds-wise. So tri’s and supers for old chuck here!

Next on the stack is Uncle Brent at 4/1. This one is up from Oaklawn with a Stakes win of a 100k race that went a mile in 1:37’3 under his 3 race belt. Again we mystified why the 4/1 as his pedigree isn’t anything to write home about either. Supers for this one, who’s stretching out here on Saturday!

At 9/2 is Prime Cut who is also x-entered in the Preakness, comes out of a good 2nd place finish in the Lex/Coolmore at Keeneland last month! Although that was a poly placing, he does have plenty of dirt experience at 6-2-2-1! If he does go to the Preakness don’t count him out there either. We like Prime Cut here an he’d be first into our exotics on Saturday!

At 5/1 is the GIII Illinois Derby winner Joe Vann whose coming off a 3-race winning streak too. For the life of us, we don’t understand why this one isn’t down at Pimlico training for the Preakness but he’s not, so right into our early exotics thinking he goes too!

At 6/1 is Alternation who finished 5th in the Arkansas Derby last trip out, but before that was one of the Oaklawn’s favorite son’s in all the 3yo Allowance dust-ups there! He’s pedigree of Distorted Humor and Seattle Slew would get your attention too! But he’s in our “show me” camp right now, so supers only until he shows us something here!

At the bottom of this Peter Pan favorites stack is Newsdad at 8/1. Newsdad finished 4th in that crazy Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland last month. But this one is a poly/turf runner and lightening doesn’t strike twice! So if you are looking to add some value to a super, this one might do!

At 15/1 is Monzon who was all the early noise at Aqueduct beating JJ’s Lucky Train and Pants On Fire in the Count Fleet Stakes way back on Jan. 1st! His last start was the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs where he finished a poor 5th that day. If memory serves, he took an injury that day and if his 100% again, he could be a big value here on Saturday. Supers at least for him!

At 20/1, 30/1 and 50/1 are Bold Deed, Beer Meister, Isn’t He Perfect and Tap Attack respectively! Of the 4 bringing up the rear here, only Beer Meister should get some attention with a Sunland Derby 4th on his resume! So a super spot somewhere for him isn’t a crazy idea!

So we’d look for Adios Charlie, Joe Vann and Prime Cut to be in our first-tier thinking then Alternation, Uncle Brent, Monzon at the back end of any multiple tri’s and Newsdad and Beer Meister in multiple 10 cent supers!

So it’s not the Preakness but it is something to keep an eye on in the meantime and who knows maybe a Belmont Stakes winner comes out of this race once again this year! We will see,won’t we!

Here a little video on handicapping this race we found on youtube!

A Preakness Fun Factoid

While we were reading up on some Preakness stats, we came across this “startling stat”!

Ever winner of the Preakness since Point Given in 2001 has gone on to be the 3yo Eclipse award winner for that year, while only a handful of Kentucky Derby winners have, in that same time period!

Just another reason to pay attention to this year’s Preakness! See comparable lists below!

Kentucky Derby winners since 1999

Year Horse Champion

2011 Animal Kingdom ?

2010 Super Saver-No

2009 Mine That Bird-No

2008 Big Brown-Yes

2007 Street Sense-No

2006 Barbaro-No

2005 Giacomo-No

2004 Smarty Jones-Yes

2003 Funny Cide-Yes

2002 War Emblem-Yes

2001 Monarchos-No

2000 Fusaichi Pegasus-No

1999 Charismatic-Yes 


Preakness winners since 1999

Only,* Red Bullet, didn’t win an Eclipse Award at year’s end

2010- Lookin At Lucky 

2009- Rachel Alexandra

2008- Big Brown

2007- Curlin

2006- Bernardini

2005- Afleet Alex

2004- Smarty Jones

2003- Funny Cide

2002- War Emblem

2001- Point Given

2000- * Red Bullet

1999- Charismatic

Read the whole acticle we found at Thoroughbred Times by clicking on the link below!