At least that's the plan (who knows what will happen injury wise), with the Dubai World Cup as his long term goal. Short term plans are up in the air, maybe stay on dirt against 3yos, or may take on older horses on grass in the Arlington Million.
Must be nice to have a horse with options on all three surfaces.
Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom is set to stay in training as a four-year-old with the 2012 Dubai World Cup as his long-range target after his defeat in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.
The Graham Motion-trained colt, nearly brought down at the start before finishing sixth in the Belmont, is likely to stay in the States this season, when he will be pointed towards the Breeders' Cup Classic on dirt at Derby venue Churchill Downs in November.
Before then, Animal Kingdom may revert to turf this summer, with the Arlington Million card possibly on the agenda, or stick to dirt for major Grade 1 contests like the Haskell at Monmouth Park on July 31 and the Travers at Saratoga on August 27 as his connections target an Eclipse Award.
Barry Irwin, president of syndicate owners Team Valor, said: "Our long-range plan is the World Cup - it's on Tapeta and he trains on Tapeta every day."
Looking at the remainder of this year, Irwin added: "We're trying to make this horse into the champion three-year-old.
"He's probably the leader of the three-year-old class right now, but he's no cinch to be the champion, so I think we're going to have to put him where he can solidify that, so we have to think strongly about the Haskell and the Travers, races like that."
The turf option, via the Arlington Million meeting, is also open for a horse who has won two races on synthetic surfaces, which favour grass performers, and finished second on turf at Gulfstream on his seasonal debut in March.
"I really thought we were going to win the Belmont or at least run second," added Irwin.
"After that we were going to use the Arlington Million or Secretariat Stakes as the first stepping-stone toward the Breeders' Cup Classic but now we have to have a rethink."
... diagnosed with a slab fracture in his left hock ..
Irwin said in a media release that he is optimistic Animal Kingdom will fully recover in time to make the $10 million Dubai World Cup in late March 2012.
Irwin said it is believed Animal Kingdom likely incurred the injury when finishing sixth following a troubled trip in his last race, the June 11 Belmont Stakes. Before that, the colt won the May 7 Kentucky Derby and finished second in the May 21 Preakness.
The surgery will entail a screw being inserted to compress the fracture, which will be followed by 4 to 6 weeks of rest at Team Valor’s private barn at Fair Hill. The colt then will be sent to trainer Bruce Jackson to walk on a water treadmill, and after 90 days are up from the time of surgery, and assuming all is well, Animal Kingdom will be put into light training with Graham Motion at Fair Hill.