I was surprised, and I must say, saddened, to hear that Animal Kingdom, Kentucky Derby winner, will not race again this year because his injured rear leg is worse than initially thought.

“He has been lame every day and it hasn’t gotten any better.”

“A second set of films (x-rays) has revealed a slab fracture just above the small fissure noted in the previous images,” said two of the best in the business, veterinarians Dr. Dean Richardson of New Bolton Center and Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood and Riddle Veterinary Clinic.

Most concur the injury was the result of a bumping incident several strides out of the gate of the June 11th Belmont Stakes.

From this point, Dr. Richardson will insert a screw to compress the fracture on Thursday (June 30th), after which Animal Kingdom will do 90 days of rehabilitation at the Fair Hill Training Center, and then on a water treadmill at a equine therapy unit.

Though he has listened to offers for Animal Kingdom, Irwin said there have been no serious talks to sell or retire the colt. He still believes the horse has a bright racing future ahead of him

Well, I hope so. But I don’t want to see Animal Kingdom injured again.

The long range plans for Animal Kingdom are to return to training in early winter at Fair Hill before eventually being sent to Florida. Irwin also said his first major goal is to have him ready for the Dubai World Cup in March, 2012.

2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom’s season is over

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