LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Trainer Graham Motion still recalls the feeling of winning the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom. He also recalls what it takes to get to the winners circle.
“You need a really special horse, no doubt about it. Animal Kingdom was a really special horse. And you need to have a little luck on your side,” Motion said. He says his current hopeful Irish War Cry is even more accomplished than his 2011 champion.
“Animal Kingdom just scraped into the Spiral (Stakes) and that’s how he got here. This horse has already won a couple of stakes races, legitimate triple crown prep races,” said Motion.
Irish War Cry won the Grade II Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in April, which for Derby runners this century is a double-edged sword. The last Wood winner to win the Derby was Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000.
“We’re here to defend the Wood,” Motion joked Tuesday after watching Irish War Cry take to the track for the first time since vanning in from Maryland on Monday. “I think it’s a little bit like the Triple Crown: everyone said it wasn’t going to happen. One day, the horse that wins the Wood will win the Derby.”