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Animal Kingdom reigns in Kentucky

Updated: Sunday, 08 May 2011 09:16

Animal Kingdom - Winner of the 137th Kentucky Derby
Animal Kingdom - Winner of the 137th Kentucky Derby

Animal Kingdom came with a late run to win the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs with Aidan O'Brien's Master Of Hounds running respectably in fifth.

Having his first ever run on a dirt surface, Animal Kingdom quickened up in fine style down the centre of the track to give John Velazquez his first win in the special race.

Shackleford took the field along and was still in front turning into the straight when Nehro eventually wore him down.

Unfortunately for Nehro he had barely taken the lead before Graham Motion's Animal Kingdom swept by for a fine win. Much Macho Man was third.

The favourite Dialed In was last in the first half of the race and never threatened to get involved while Master Of Hounds made headway in the straight but could not reach the leaders.

Velazquez was due to ride ante-post favourite Uncle Mo, a late scratching, and only picked up the mount on the winner when Robby Albarado picked up an injury.

Winning jockey Velazquez said: 'Words can't describe how I feel right now.

'Of course I feel bad for Robby but this win is for the both of us - I know he is with me today.

'I've been unlucky with injuries and missed big winners before in the past but today I've got lucky. I've lost the last three favourites for this through scratchings.

'It was a bit tight at the first pole but I was soon happy and once I started my run I was always going to win,' he told NBC.

Barry Irwin, the mastermind behind winning owners Team Valor International, said: 'I'm overwhelmed. This is unbelievable and I can't believe it.

'I moved all my horses to Graham because I grew tired of trainers lying to me and I wanted someone to tell me the truth.'

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