Animal Kingdom Definite for Belmont
Animal Kingdom was declared definite for the Belmont Stakes by trainer Graham Motion today.
“We just made the decision that he will be coming to the Belmont,” said Motion, speaking from Fair Hill Training Center in northern Maryland. “He bounced out of the Preakness very well and we are looking forward to running in the Belmont Stakes. He will probably come to Belmont Park the week leading up to race, depending on where we decide to have his final workout.”
Animal Kingdom would try to be just the twelfth horse in history to complete the Derby-Belmont double, a feat last accomplished by Thunder Gulch in 1995. Swale (1984), Bold Forbes (1976), Riva Ridge (1972), Chateaugay (1963), Needles (1956), Middleground (1950), Shut Out (1942), Johnstown (1939), Twenty Grand (1931) and Zev (1923) were the others to win the first and last races in the Triple Crown.
If Shackleford competes, it would mark the first Triple Crown rubber match since 2005 when Derby winner Giacomo finished seventh behind Preakness winner Afleet Alex.
Shackleford, currently training at Churchill Downs, is scheduled to arrive at Belmont Park tomorrow or Sunday. Connections will evaluate how he's doing at the Big Sandy before making a final decision.
The Belmont Stakes has a maximum field of 16. Nineteen are probable or possible and are listed here.
--By Dick Downey