ELKTON, Md. | It’s back to normal for Graham Motion – well as normal as is possible for the trainer of a Kentucky Derby winner.
Motion was back on the track at Fair Hill Training Center on Wednesday with Animal Kingdom, the horse who captured the Derby last week at odds of 21-1. The track in northern Maryland is home base for Motion – and just 61 miles from Pimlico, the site of the Preakness on May 21.
“I do think it’s an advantage for us – for the equines and the humans,” Motion said Wednesday. “He’s a pretty easygoing horse; it’s a very relaxed environment.”
Fair Hill in Elkton is where Animal Kingdom will stay until May 20, when he’s expected to ship to Baltimore just a day before the race for the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Motion said those plans could change, but he likes being here rather than changing the horse’s routine twice before the Preakness.
“It’s nice that he’s gonna stay where he is and stay where he’s comfortable,” Motion said. “Other horses are going to have to get used to their surroundings.”
Animal Kingdom jogged a mile on the Fair Hill track Wednesday at about 8:30 a.m. and will take a few light gallops again Thursday, Motion said.
“He’s not gonna over-exert himself,” the trainer said of Animal Kingdom’s training regimen.
Animal Kingdom had never raced on dirt before the Derby but Motion doesn’t see much difference with the surface at Pimlico compared to Churchill Downs. Timing – the race being just two weeks later – could be the biggest factor.
Still, Motion isn’t worried.
“Quite honestly the horse is pretty straightforward,” he said. “He probably makes me look good.”