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Can ‘Kingdom’ back up his Kentucky Derby victory?

The connections of Animal Kingdom look to prove that their long-shot victory in the Kentucky Derby was no fluke Saturday.

The connections of Animal Kingdom look to prove that their long-shot victory in the Kentucky Derby was no fluke when the lightly raced chestnut faces 13 rivals in Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes.

Though trainer Graham Motion described the colt’s training this week as “super,” he conceded that the Derby victory two weeks ago was a pleasant surprise.

Animal Kingdom entered the Derby with only four career starts and none of them on dirt. He went off at 20-1 odds.

“No doubt, he exceeded my expectations,” Motion said. “Even though he had a very, very good work on the dirt, it was certainly an unknown to us at that point as to how he was going to handle it.

“We had a good feeling about running him on the dirt, but until you actually lead them over there you don’t really know.”

Animal Kingdom has been listed as the early 2-1 favorite in the Preakness, ahead of 9-2 Dialed In, the Nick Zito-trained colt that finished eighth in the Derby.

 
 
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