Over the river, and…. Archive photo by Douglas Lees.

by Vicky Moon

It was another big day for Animal Kingston at the 54th Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia April 18.  

Sired by 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and ridden by Graham Watters, Animal Kingston prevailed in a heat of The Land Trust of Virginia-sponsored third race for his second victory in four starts as a point-to-point horse.

Owned by Middleburg’s Will Russell and trained by Neil Morris, Animal Kingston is just starting his jumping career at the point-to-points where purse money is scarce.

He previously had 19 starts with three wins on the flat at venues that included Gulfstream, Delaware Park, Pimlico, Monmouth and Mountaineer. He was claimed by Dove Houghton on behalf of Morris’ Pathfinder stables, after finishing second in a claiming race at Laurel Park October 19, 2018.

Overall, Animal Kingston has over $86,000 in earnings at the track with four wins, six seconds and four third-place finishes in 22 starts.

“Neil found him and I kind of liked him,” Russell said. “One glass of wine, and we bought him. Right now, we’re learning about him and what he can do. We’re at the bottom rung of the (jumping) ladder and hopefully, he’ll keep moving up.” 

His next start, the fifth of his second career, is slated to be at Willowdale in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania on May 8. This event will be the six-year-old chestnut gelding’s first National Steeplechase Association sanctioned race.