John Messara’s Arrowfield Stud has acquired a majority interest in the breeding rights to Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner and Champion 3-year-old Male, who will begin his stud career in Australia next September and likely shuttle to the Northern Hemisphere beginning in 2014.
The 20 Team Valor International partners that have reached racing’s pinnacle with the home-bred colt will maintain a significant interest in his stud career. The recent runner-up to Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile. Animal Kingdom is slated for the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on 9 February as a prep for the $10-million Dubai World Cup (G1) on March 31.
After the World Cup, the son of Leroidesanimaux out of Dalicia (by Acatenango) will be flown from Dubai to England and considered for an additional start, possibly at Royal Ascot in June.
The deal is subject to Animal Kingdom passing importation protocols, which involve blood work that should be finalized in the next few days.
John Messara says, “Animal Kingdom excites us as a rare kind of athlete with a truly international pedigree who is able to express his class on a range of surfaces. He is already rated among the world’s elite turf milers and has the potential to become a global superstar in 2013.”
Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin fielded a regular stream of offers for Animal Kingdom’s stud career ever since the Kentucky Derby, in which he prevailed by 2 3/4 lengths as the first horse to conquer America’s great classic in his first start on dirt. He stands to be the only Derby-winning stallion prospect to race as a 5-year-old since Silver Charm, who scored in the 1997 Run for the Roses.
“Originally it was our intention to race Animal Kingdom for the entire 2013 season,” Irwin said. “However, the prospect of getting the support of John Messara's Arrowfield Stud in the Southern Hemisphere was so meaningful, that I advised my partners to sublimate their fun and take the deal. It is critically important to get a history-making stallion master behind a new prospect and in John Messara we have that. He has developed two of the world's most successful sires in Danehill and his son, Redoute's Choice. No way I was going to pass up this opportunity."
Robin Bruss of Northfields Bloodstock brokered the deal.
Team Valor will form broodmare partnerships to breed to Animal Kingdom, with the plan of selling and racing his offspring around the globe.
Trained admirably by Graham Motion, Animal Kingdom is a Graded stakes winner on dirt and synthetic racetracks, and he nearly beat a Horse of the Year candidate in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf off a 259-day layoff, overcoming trouble to finish in front of the elite Europeans Excelebration and Moonlight Cloud.
Animal Kingdom also finished second in the 2011 Preakness Stakes. He has finished first or second in 8 of his 9 career starts, the lone exception coming in the Belmont Stakes when he was sandwiched after the break and nearly went down, leading to 8 months on the sidelines with an injury. He has earned $2,327,500.