Animal Kingdom Tames Derby Rivals; Pimlico Mother’s Day Picks

May 07, 2011 | Gary Quill

Maryland based trainer H. Graham Motion, who on Monday was devastated when his top Kentiucky Derby contender Toby’s Corner had to be delcared out of the Derby due to lameness, now must be on Cloud Nine as his other trainee, Animal Kingdom roared by his competition in the stretch to win the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby by 2 3/4 lenghs, in a final time of 2:02.04. Motion stables his horses in Fair Hill, MD  in Cecil County is well known and liked by the entire Maryland racing community. Having a “hometown hero” come to the Preakness with the Derby winner will certainly be a shot in the arm as far as local interest in the 136th Preakness Stakes to be run on Saturday May 21st.

Animal Kingdom winning Derby

Photo source: Boston Globe


Winning the Derby in only his second try, Motion’s stock as a trainer will certainly skyrocket, but not solely due to his Derby win, rather because of his honesty. Animal Kingdom is owned by Team Valor International, compromised of a group of, as the name suggests, international investors who own horses that run all over the world. Needless to say they have “deep pockets” and own top quality horses. Yet it appears they have experienced the same issue that many horses owners deal with… trust in their trainer. At the press conference after the Derby, Barry Irwin, the founder and CEO of Team Valor International was asked why he turned over Animal Kingdom and many other of the groups horses to Motion last year. He simply stated, “I just was tired of other trainers lying to me. I wanted a guy who would tell me the truth”. It’s conceivable that Graham Motion will be busy answering more calls from horse owners than the media in the coming weeks after that statement.  

Graham Motion Derby

Photo credit: Charles Bertram

Another Marylander made history in yesterdays Derby as jockey Anna “Rosie” Napravnik guided Pants On Fire to a 9th place finiish, the best for a female jockey in a Kentucky Derby race. Though finishing 9th in a 19 horse field isn’t much to cheer about, Rosie is a rising star who began her career riding at Laurel Park and just 5 months ago to a chance on riding at the Fairgrounds (LA) winter meet. All she did was become the first woman in that tracks history to win the riding title. That success led her to continue on to Churchill Downs instead of returning home to ride at Pimlico. On Friday she gained national attention in teh Kentucky Oaks by rallying 17-1 longshot St. John’s River to a second place finish. It appears that the Maryland horse racing circuit will see yet another rider whose career started at Laurel Park or Pimlico, move onto bigger and better places. The media will, if they haven’t already, fall in love with her candid personality and a firey attitude to match the color of her natural red hair. 


My Derby was not a profitable one, but at least my top pick (Brilliant Speed) out ran his 27-1 odds, finishing 7th, just 5 lengths behind the winner. Below is the complete order of finish. In parentheses to the right of the horse name is the final odds followed by my predicted finish for each.


 1st – Animal Kingdom 34-1 (7th)

 2nd – Nehro  8-1 (9th)

 3rd – Mucho Macho Man 9-1 (4th)

 4th – Shackleford 23-1 (11th)

 5th – Master Of Hounds 16-1 (5th)

 6th – Santiva 34-1 (3rd)

 7th – Brilliant Speed 27-1 (1st)

 8th – Dialed In 5-1 (2nd)

 9th – Pants On Fire 8-1 (16th)

10th – Twice The Appeal 11-1 (15th)

11th – Soldat 11-1 (6th)

12th – Stay Thirsty 17-1 (14th)

13th – Derby Kitten 36-1 (18th)

14th – Decisive Moment 39-1 (19th)

15th – Archarcharch 12-1 (8th)

16th – Midnight Interlude 9-1 (10th)

17th – Twinspired 32-1 (12th)

18th – Watch Me Go 33-1 (13th)

19th – Comma To The Top 35-1 (17th)


 Pimlico facade


Recapping Day 21 (Satuday, May 7th) at the Pimlico Spring Meet…


Best Bet J W Blue (#7 10th race – Federico Tesio Stakes; M/L 5-2; P/T 2-1) got a horrible ride as he lagged in the rear of a slow early pace, then got going late to salvage 3rd paying $3.00 to SHOW..

Best Bet pick scorecard from 21 selections at the Pimlico Meet: 7 WIN – 3 PLACE – 6 SHOW.

Longshot  Skidoodle (#4 1st race M/L 6-1; P/T 7-2) ran away to a 6 length victory for her first career win, hardly looking like a horse who took 36 tries to get to the Winners’ Circle, paying $9.40 to WIN, $3.80 PLACE and $2.80 for SHOW.

Longshot pick scorecard from 21 selections at the Pimlico Meet: 4 WIN – 5 PLACE – 1 SHOW. 


Here’s how the WDYL (Who Do Ya Like?) Plays panned out…


1st race ($2 DD): 3, 4, 7 w/ 1, 3…WINNER: came 4-3 paying $36.00

4th race:: #3 – Belongs To Dixie (6-1)… OTB

5th race on turf: #6 – Reine De Bonbon (7-2)… OTB

6th race: #4 – Romantic Cuvee (2-1)… LATE SCRATCH

7th race on turf: #12 – Malibu Mambo (20-1)…  SCRATCHED

8th race: #5 – Mythical Hero (5-2)…OTB  

9th race ($2 DD):  4, 7 w/ 4, 6, 8 … came 1-6


For the Pimlico Spring Meet, Day 22 (Sunday, May 8th) … HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY 


Soup of the Day: Beef Vegetable 


Best Bet: Eldarion (#9 5th race; on turf M/L 7-2) retains jock Mario Pino who typically rides for trainer John Robb who also has a runner in here. Hmmm. 

Longshot: Seeking The Point (#4 2nd race M/L 8-1) appears to be a live longshot whose previous race was just a prep for this one.



Other “Who Do Ya Like” (WDYL) Plays…  


1st race ($2 DD): 1, 5 w/ 5, 7 ($8)

3rd race on turf: #8 – Duke Of Devon (3-1)                            

7th race on turf: #2 – Broadway Dreamer (6-1)          

9th race ($2 DD):  1, 3, 10 w/ 3, 5 ($12)


Enjoy a great day of thoroughbred horse racing. Share the fun with a friend.