If you missed the 2011 Kentucky Derby, you missed another thrilling race at Churchill Downs. Between the environment, with 164,858 screaming their lungs out, and the wide-open field, the race was destined for an exciting finish. And the run for the roses provided plenty of drama as the field broke for the home-stretch, with Animal Kingdom holding just enough back to burst to the front like he was shot out of a rocket to win the Kentucky Derby.
At 20/1 odds, Animal Kingdom was an afterthought before the race got underway, with many hitching their wagons to Dialed In, Twice the Appeal and Pants on Fire. But the favorites were hardly a factor, showing just how unpredictable the Kentucky Derby can be, especially with a relatively weak field. Instead, it was Shackleford in the lead as they broke for the home-stretch, with Nehro, Animal Kingdom and Mucho Macho Man all making late moves down the stretch.
But with John Valazquez on the reigns, Animal Kingdom broke the wire in his first-ever race on dirt to take the win at Churchill Downs. With the win comes a purse of almost $1.5 million and the all-important first leg of the Triple Crown. Valazquez and Animal Kingdom move-on to Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing's most sought-after, and rare, crown.
If you missed the race, check out the video below, courtesy of SB Nation.
With the Kentucky Derby over, it's time for a look back at the week at Churchill Downs. Stay with our 2011 Kentucky Derby StoryStream for more on the race, including full results, recaps and payouts. For more on the race, head over to SB Nation's Kentucky Derby StoryStream or check out And Down The Stretch They Come.