Velazquez replacing Albarado on Animal Kingdom - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Velazquez replacing Albarado on Animal Kingdom

John Velazquez has been named to ride Team Valor International's Animal Kingdom in Saturday's Kentucky Derby, replacing Robby Albarado, who suffered a broken nose and facial lacerations on Wednesday when he was thrown from his mount during the post parade of a race at Churchill Downs. Albarado took off his mounts both Thursday and Friday, but said he would be able to ride during the Kentucky Derby card.

Velazquez became available when his regular mount, Uncle Mo, was scratched on Friday morning.

“We decided that if Robby rode today we'd stick with him, but when he took off all mounts, we were worried,” said Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor. “We did it today so all the gamblers would know exactly what was going on. We thought it was in the best interests to make this change today when the betting opened.”

Animal Kingdom was ridden to victory by Alan Garcia in the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in his last start. Albarado rode the Leroidesanimaux colt in his maiden win last fall at Keeneland.

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