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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A little more than 24 hours after turning in his final American breeze ahead of the G1 Dubai World Cup Mar. 30, Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux {Brz})departed his stall at Palm Meadows Training Center and was scheduled to arrive in Dubai Wednesday, five years to the day that he was foaled.

The striking chestnut worked five-eighths of a mile on the turf Monday morning in 1:01 3/5 (video), the best of 30 moves at the distance, and trainer Graham Motion pronounced his charge ready for the world's richest race.

"I thought it went just how we asked him to do it," Motion commented. "We planned on giving him the same kind of work as we did at Keeneland before he left for the Breeders' Cup. This work is a little further out, so we wanted a strong work and wanted him to do something sensible. I think that's just what we got."

It was just a little more than a year ago that plans to contest the 2012 World Cup were aborted due to injury. The ever-pragmatic Motion is relieved that this day has arrived. "I really haven't allowed myself to get excited," Motion admitted. "Really, ever since we decided to point for the Breeders' Cup, things have gone smoothly. He's worked when we wanted, ran when he wanted. Now I just want him to get there, and once he gets over there, I'll start getting excited."

Animal Kingdom won the 2011 GIII Spiral S. over the Turfway Polytrack en route to his Kentucky Derby victory, and Motion expects that the Team Valor runner will adapt to the Meydan Tapeta.

"I'll always have some concerns, because I'm a horse trainer and that's the way I am," the conditioner stated. "Honestly it was more of a surprise that he handled the dirt at Churchill, and I'd be surprised if he didn't handle it in Dubai. He's got turf breeding, and Gio Ponti went over there and ran well twice."

Motion, who leaves for Dubai this Sunday, said Animal Kingdom would gallop over the weekend and will be turned out daily while in quarantine. He added that he might let Animal Kingdom stretch his legs and do "something with him on Tuesday, a little blowout, maybe."

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