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Animal Kingdom underwent a nuclear scan March 13 at Palm Beach Equine Medical Center, which revealed the start of a stress fracture in his hind end. The injury will not require surgery. 

The latest injury to the 2011 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner is unrelated to his hock fracture from last summer in the left hind leg. Dr. Dean Richardson of the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center confirmed the injury, which is expected to heal after about three months.

Richardson, the veterinary surgeon who performed the hock operation on Animal Kingdom last year after the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), said: “If anything was going to happen to this horse, this would be about as good a result as one could hope for.”

Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux--Dalicia, by Acatenango) developed lameness after working five furlongs on March 10, which prompted his connections to withdraw him from the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) on March 31. Prior to that, he won an allowance race on the turf at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 18.

“The horse will stay in his stall for a month and be grazed every day, after which time he’ll be transferred to Team Valor’s barn at Fair Hill Training Center, where for the next couple of months he will have limited activity,” Team Valor International CEO Barry Irwin said. “Then he will return to full training.

“Team Valor’s interest is to run the horse for another year. We will make a decision about whether we want to do that by September, so that if the horse is going to be retired, he’ll have plenty of chance to be promoted by the start of breeding season. Graham Motion and I think we should have a good enough idea by September of whether or not he is the same horse in his training. If he is, we prefer to run him another year and target the Dubai World Cup.”

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