The Associated Press

Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom is set to return to racing on Feb. 25 in the Tampa Bay Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs after being sidelined for nearly eight months with a hairline fracture to his left hock.

Team Valor chief executive officer Barry Irwin says Animal Kingdom will use the 1 1-16-mile turf race as a prep for the $10 million Dubai World Cup in late March. Animal Kingdom hasn’t raced since finishing sixth in the Belmont Stakes last June.

He came out of the race on a sloppy track injured and underwent surgery that month. He’s had six workouts since Dec. 24 in Florida.

Trainer Graham Motion says he thinks a turf race will be easier on Animal Kingdom as he makes a comeback.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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