Dubai: Animal Kingdom, one of the leading North American contenders for this month’s Dubai World Cup (G1), has been ruled out of the $10m race after coming up lame during a pre-Dubai training session in Florida.
A winner of the 137th Kentucky Derby last season, the half Brazilian, half German Kentucky-bred colt suffered the injury after working five furlongs on Saturday at Palm Meadows Training Centre.
It was his first major work-out since his two length victory in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park on February 19, following his sixth place finish to Ruler On Ice in the Belmont Stakes last June.
"This is a crushing blow for our company and our partners as well as our trainer, who has done such a great job getting the horse back to this point," said Barry Irwin, Chief Executive Officer of Team Valor International, who are the owners of Animal Kingdom. "If he comes out of this OK, hopefully we can run in the World Cup in 2013."
Animal Kingdom was scheduled to leave South Florida for Dubai on March 20 and was a 6/1 chance with British bookmakers to win North American-trained horses--a ninth win in the Dubai World Cup.
The lightly-raced horse is no stranger to injury and have suffered a hairline fracture of the hock in his left hind leg that forced him to miss the second half of 2011. His new injury has reportedly come up on the same leg.
Animal Kingdom underwent surgery in late June and healed sufficiently by early September, when he returned to light training.
The last American-trained horse to win the Dubai World Cup was the Eoin Harty-trained Well Armed who triumphed in 2009.
New Zealand-bred So You Think, winner of the Cox Plate in 2009 and 2010 in Australia and the British and Irish Champion Stakes in 2011, is the ante-post favourite for the Marh 31 contest at odds of 7/2.