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Feb 02, 2012

2012 debut for Animal Kingdom decided


Oldsmar, FL (Sports Network) - Eclipse Award winner Animal Kingdom will begin his four-year-old campaign later this month at Tampa Bay Downs. Team Valor's . Barry Irwin and trainer Graham Motion announced the decision in a press release.

"The Tampa Bay (Feb. 25) will allow him enough works to be fit enough to start back," Motion said. "Any of these earlier races would have been pushing it. We want to have him fit for his first race so it doesn't take too much out of him for the race that we're really pointing for."

The Tampa Bay Stakes is a turf race at 1 1/16-miles and is being used to prep the colt for the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 31 which is run on a synthetic track.

"I think a turf race will be easier on him coming back," Motion said. "It's a little kinder than the dirt. If the race in Dubai was on dirt, it would probably be a different story."

The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner and champion three-year-old from last year has been working at Palm Meadows Training Center near Gulfstream Park.

"This horse is just on 'go,'" Irwin said. "He is relishing his work, he's happy to be out there, and he just loves to run. And he doesn't seem to be getting that tired."

The Tampa Bay Stakes will be the colt's first start since suffering a hairline fracture during the running of the Belmont Stakes. Prior to that he was second in the Preakness Stakes in addition to taking the Run for the Roses.

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