Disappointment for Animal Kingdom
The Belmont Stakes was a very disappointing event for Animal Kingdom and his connections. He was a very strong contender for the race, but got bumped just out the starting gates, and the collision almost caused him to fall and his jockey was left holding on for dear life. The pair did manage to correct themselves, but by the time they had settled back into the race, it was too late to make up the ground. More disappointment followed when Animal Kingdom went on to become lame for a few days running, causing great concern.
Both his trainer Graham Motion and owner Barry Irwin, suspected that the injury Animal Kingdom suffered during the Belmont Stakes was more serious than thought at first and decided to have a second set of x-rays taken of his rear leg. Their fears and suspicions were confirmed when the films revealed a slab fracture. Irwin immediately took action and consulted with the two most respected veterinarians in the horse racing industry, namely Dr. Larry Barmlage (Rood and Riddle Veterinary Clinic) and Dr. Dean Richardson (New Bolton Centre). They both agreed that the injury was more than likely the result of the incident that occurred at Belmont and that a screw will have to be inserted into Animal Kingdom’s leg to compress the fracture suffered in his rear leg. Animal Kingdom will then have to undergo a ninety day rehabilitation period, which he will undergo at the Fair Hill Training Centre. The centre is equipped with a high-tech equine therapy unit that features a water treadmill, and will assist Animal Kingdom during his rehabilitation without placing more strain on his injury. This of course means that Animal Kingdom will not be able to participate in the rest of the racing season. The surgery is not completely necessary, but it will take longer for Animal Kingdom to heal on his own, so Irwin has decided to do everything he can to help his horse recover as soon as possible.
There has been some speculation that Irwin might sell Animal Kingdom, which are rumors that Irwin has dismissed, saying that no serious discussions or decisions were made in regard to retiring or selling Animal Kingdom and that he strongly believes that his horse still has a long and successful racing career ahead of him. They would now concentrate on the recovery of Animal Kingdom, after which they will look at the Dubai World Cup, which will be hosted in March next year, as his possible returning event.