2011 Belmont Stakes Profile: Animal Kingdom

It is time to begin looking at the hopefuls for the 2011 Belmont Stakes and my contenders countdown begins with Kentucky Derby hero Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom

photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The aforementioned Derby winner has been an exacta player in all six lifetime starts and the 2-time graded hero was hardly disgraced in a rallying Preakness place finish. Graham Motion’s talented son of Leroidesanimaux paired-up top figures in the first two legs of the Triple Crown and is bred to handle the marathon distance of the Belmont Stakes.

Animal Kingdom owns a long distance turf-oriented pedigree and is capable of producing a strong late kick under the right pace circumstances. He seems best closing into moderate fractions but the odd Preakness race shape (fast early/slow middle) proved his undoing, especially with eventual winner Shackleford in the hunt throughout.

Team Valor International’s 3-year-old colt should make his presence felt at Big Sandy if the Derby and Preakness did not take too much out of him.

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