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Animal Kingdom in Preakness

Animal Kingdom in Preakness
Animal Kingdom in Preakness. Animal Kingdom, the first Kentucky Derby winner who never raced before on dirt, will try to claim the second leg of US horse racing's Triple Crown on Saturday by winning the 136th Preakness.The three-year-old chestnut colt is a 2-1 betting favorite in a field of 14, the first full lineup for the Preakness since 2005, and English-born trainer Graham Motion likes Animal Kingdom's chances in starting from the No. 11 post.

"I couldn't be happier," Motion said. "I would rather be on the outside than stuck down on the inside."

Animal Kingdom will try to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to complete the American treble sweep by sweeping the Derby, the 1 3/16-mile Preakness at Pimlico and the Belmont Stakes on June 11.

"I've followed this in years past and rooted just like anyone else for the Triple Crown horse," Motion said. "I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. We will deal with the Preakness first."

Jockey John Velazquez will be back aboard Animal Kingdom after winning his first Derby in 13 tries on the horse.

Not since Exterminator in 1918 has a horse won the Derby after so few career starts and not since Needles in 1956 has a horse won the Derby after a six-week layoff.

Animal Kingdom's rivals include Dialed In, the Derby favorite who finished eighth at Churchill Downs two weeks ago.

Dialed In was made second favorite at 9-2 and would collect a North American record $6.1 million payout if he wins the Preakness, thanks to a $5.5 million sponsor bonus from winning major Triple Crown tuneups the Florida Derby and Holy Bull Stakes.