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Animal Kingdom Wins Kentucky Derby [VIDEO]

Animal Kingdom
Travis Lindquist, Getty Images

In an interesting twist of fate, jockey John Velazquez rode three-year-old horse Animal Kingdom to victory at the 137th Kentucky Derby, held Saturday at Louisville’s historic Churchill Downs.

Velazquez was originally scheduled to ride Uncle Mo before the horse was scratched due to a stomach virus. Luckily for him, Velazquez was quickly snatched up by owner Barry Irwin, who needed a replacement after Animal Kingdom’s original jockey, Robby Albarado, had his nose broken by a horse kick on Wednesday.

“I do really feel really bad for Robby. I hope he’s winning the Derby with me here. I know he got hurt, so this is for both of us, buddy. I know you’re not on it, but I know you’re with me,” Velazquez said after the race. Of course, that doesn’t mean Velazquez felt bad enough to share his winnings with Robby.

“I’m not happy,” said Robby Albarado. “Barry Irwin decided he didn’t think I was fit to ride; he didn’t know my status or situation. This just wasn’t my time today”

Animal Kingdom won the race by by 2 3/4 lengths. Horses Nehro and Mucho Macho Man finished in second and third place, respectively.

Nineteen horses and a record crowd of 164,858. Two horses were injured during the race. Arkansas Derby winner Archarcharch had his saddle slip early was vanned off of the track after his finish at fifteen. X-rays revealed that he had suffered a non-displaced fracture to his left foreleg. Comma To The Top started strong but wound up bringing up the rear on Saturday. According to trainer Peter Miller, “It appears my horse chipped his left ankle.” Neither injury is life-threatening.

Here is how the nineteen horses finished: Animal Kingdom, Nehro, Mucho Macho Shackleford, Master of Hounds, Santiva, Brilliant Speed, Dialed In, Pants On Fire, Twice the Appeal, Soldat, Stay Thirsty, Derby Kitten, Decisive Moment, Archarcharch, Midnight Interlude, Twinspired, Watch Me Go and Comma to the Top.

Animal Kingdom is a long shot but he is ready to make an attempt at the Triple Crown. Get ready for the next two races. The 136th running of the Preakness Stakes will be on May 21 and the 142nd running of the Belmont Stakes will be on June 11.

Relive Saturday’s nail-biting race below.

[Sports Illustrated]

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