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Apr 05, 2013

Motion replaced as Team Valor trainer


Elkton, MD (Sports Network) - Graham Motion has been replaced as the trainer for Team Valor International, effective May 1. However, Motion will continue to train Dubai World Cup and Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.

Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor, announced Friday that his operation has hired Rick Mettee as its private trainer. Mettee peviously trained for Irwin and most recently was assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor who oversees Godolphin Racing's United States division.

"Graham Motion trained Team Valor's horses privately from our barn at Fair Hill Training Center as an accommodation to us. But he made it clear that he would continue to train for other owners. We understood this and accepted his conditions.

"However, due to the unique type of operation we run with partnership-owned horses, we feel at this time it would serve our needs better to have one trainer that was exclusive to our stable. Graham agrees. He has offered to continue to train our horses through the month of April until our new trainer has set up his operation."

Last Saturday, Motion saddled Animal Kingdom to victory in the $10 million Dubai World Cup, In 2011, the horse won the Spiral Stakes and Kentucky Derby, and finished second in the Preakness Stakes.

Last year, Animal Kingdom finished second to Wise Dan in the Breeders' Cup Mile and began 2013 with a runner-up finish to Point of Entry in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

The 5-year-old is expected to make his final start in June at the Royal Ascot meeting in either the Queen Anne Stakes or Prince of Wales's Stakes. Animal Kingdom is owned by Australia's Arrowfield Stud and Team Valor. This week a minority interest in the horse was sold to Darley Racing.

When he is retired from racing, Animal Kingdom will stand in the Northern Hemisphere at Darley's Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky. and at Arrowfield Stud in the Southern Hemisphere.

In 11 career starts, Animal Kingdom has won five times for $8,387,500.

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