Animal Kingdom's quest to win the final race of his career at Royal Ascot came to a disappointing end as he finished third to last in the 13-horse Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes. Going to post as the odds-on favorite in the North American pools, Animal Kingdom broke well from the gate but ran a bit rank in the middle of the pack through the first half mile. He began to lose ground less than a half mile from the finish and it became apparent it wasn't going to be the Derby winner's day when jockey John Velazquez received no response from his urging.
Declaration of War, trained by Aidan O'Brien and ridden by Joseph O'Brien, nipped Aljamaaheer and Gregorian at the wire to notch another big race victory for Ballydoyle.
Animal Kingdom's failure at Royal Ascot comes in a year where an American-trained horse couldn't ask for better conditions to win a Group 1 race at the prestigious meet. The ground was favorable, the field was solid but not filled with battle-tested Group 1 horses, and Animal Kingdom's training prior to the race appeared flawless. However, nothing is ever easy in horse racing and, sadly, Animal Kingdom failed to put forth a top effort.
Prior to this year's Queen Anne Stakes, Triple Crown winner Omaha was the last Kentucky Derby winner to run at Royal Ascot. He finished 2nd in the Ascot Gold Cup in 1936. A Derby winner has never won at the Royal meeting.
Declaration of War: $19.40, $5.80