Animal Kingdom wins in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Less than two years after capturing horse racing’s most prestigious prize, Youngstown businessman Bruce Zoldan’s Animal Kingdom has won the world’s richest horse race. The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner took first in Dubai World Cup today, becoming the first American horse to capture the $10 million prize since 2009.

Animal Kingdom burst past Royal Delta with 500 meters remaining and then held off Red Cadeaux and Plateur to come away with the victory on the all-purpose surface at Meydan Racecourse. The 5-year-old horse started in the No. 12 post but ended winning the 12,000-meter race by nearly three lengths.

He was one of just two American horses entered into the competition.

“He’s a tremendous horse,” jockey Joel Rosario told the Associated Press. “I let him do his thing, whatever he wanted to do.”

Animal is owned by Team Valor International, which Zoldan, CEO and President of B.J. Alan Company/Phantom Fireworks and owner of the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms, holds a large stake in. The horse had been hampered with injuries over the past year, including one that held him out of the 2012 edition of the Dubai World Cup.

Trainer Graham Motion said the horse’s victory in Dubai was reminiscent of his thrilling, long-shot victory at the Race for the Roses.

“It was fantastic. He’s just an extraordinary animal,” Motion told The Associated Press. “He reminded me very much of the Derby today, the way he won. It was the same kind of run he made, turning for home. He just seemed so confident and so full of run.”