FAIR HILL, Md. (WJZ) — The win was in Kentucky, but a lot of the cheering was here in Maryland. That’s because the trainer of this year’s Kentucky Derby winner lives and works in Fair Hill, in Cecil County.
Alex DeMetrick reports trainer and horse are headed back for a run at the Preakness.
As Animal Kingdom headed for the finish line of the Kentucky Derby, people at the Fair Hill Training Center were watching every move on TV.
“And then he broke free and that’s all I thought. He’s gonna get it,” said Rebecca Kelly.
And he did.
Animal Kingdom, whose specialty is running on turf, is trained by Graham Motion. Motion’s own home turf is Fair Hill.
“Obviously I didn’t know he was going to handle the switch over to dirt, but this is an amazing horse, a very special horse,” said Motion.
“We’re all really excited to have a Derby winner trained by a Fair Hill trainer,” said Sally Goswell, training center manager.
That’s especially true for those who work with Motion at his training stable in Cecil County. The fact that Animal Kingdom is a Florida horse doesn’t dampen the thrill.
“I don’t think you ever expect to win it. It’s just so surreal. Surreal, you know?” said Adrian Rolls, Motion’s assistant.
“It’s like a dream come true. Everybody wants to have a Derby winner,” Kelly said.
But the dream gets bigger in Baltimore, when the Preakness is run in two weeks. This week, however, Animal Kingdom will be allowed to run for fun with other horses trained by Graham Motion and his team.
Preakness, the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, will be run at Pimlico on May 21.