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Sports in brief: Animal Kingdom group debates Preakness run

Horses

Animal Kingdom Group debates Preakness run

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom will be heading to his home turf to await a likely run in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

He became the first horse in the 137-year history of the Derby to win in his debut on dirt, having run three times on synthetic surfaces and once on turf.

Animal Kingdom will return to Maryland on Tuesday to begin preparations for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness on May 21 at Pimlico, about 60 miles from his home base at Fair Hill Training Center.

Barry Irwin, who oversees the Team Valor partnership that owns the horse, said it's likely but not yet certain Animal Kingdom will continue on the Triple Crown trail.

"I'm pretty sure we're going to do it, but I want to talk about it," he said Sunday. "I'm a careful guy, so let's see how he's doing. If you've got a horse that's amazing, you can go for the Preakness. But your regular, average Derby winner has a real tough time coming back."

Trainer Graham Motion wants to keep jockey John Velazquez on his colt for the Preakness. Animal Kingdom's regular rider, Robby Albarado, broke his nose and had facial cuts and abrasions after a spill Wednesday. Velazquez was available after Uncle Mo was scratched Friday.

While Irwin mulls the Preakness, the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes on June 11 is a strong option. "The Belmont is the kind of race that this horse is bred to win, let's face it," he said.

More Horses

Injured colt's future uncertain

Archarcharch, the colt who fractured his left front leg while finishing 15th in the Kentucky Derby, was scheduled to have surgery late Sunday in Lexington, Ky. He was bumped coming out of the starting gate, jockey Jon Court's saddle slipped then the colt got bumped again.

Trainer Jinks Fires said he wouldn't know if Arch-archarch could race again until after the surgery.

Meanwhile, trainer Todd Pletcher said Uncle Mo wouldn't run in either of the final two Triple Crown races while the lingering stomach ailment is diagnosed.

Derby favorite Dialed In, who finished eighth, will try the Preakness, trainer Nick Zito said.

Hockey

Czechs stop Russia, Ovechkin

The Czech Republic overcame the arrival of Capitals star Alex Ovechkin to beat Russia 3-2 and maintain a perfect record at the hockey world championship in Slovakia.

Russia also lost 2-1 to the Czechs in last year's finals at the worlds.

Because Sweden beat Switzerland 2-0 to secure a place in the quarters, the United States was also assured of advancing.

Et cetera

NFL: Former Patriots player Mack Herron, 62, is in custody after being charged with heroin possession in Chicago. Police say Herron has been arrested at least 20 times and served jail time, mainly on drug convictions.

Soccer: Manchester United, owned by the Bucs' Glazer family, is on the verge of a record 19th English Premier League title after beating Chelsea 2-1. Man U is six points ahead of Chelsea with two games to go and will regain the trophy with at least a draw Saturday at Blackburn. … Barcelona moved within one point of its third straight Spanish league title by beating Espanyol 2-0.

Tennis: Former top-10 Fernando Verdasco beat rising star Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the Italian Open in Rome.

Times wires

Sports in brief: Animal Kingdom group debates Preakness run 05/08/11 [Last modified: Sunday, May 8, 2011 10:59pm]
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