Kentucky Derby winners have always held a special place in the hearts and minds of American sports fans. The combination of speed, stamina and competitive spirit that is required to win the Kentucky Derby are all much admired attributes in any athlete. Given this connection, we thought it would be worth taking a look at the last few winners of the Kentucky Derby and what their lives have entailed since their triumphant “Run for the Roses.”

Animal Kingdom (2011)--After popping at a juicy 21-to-1 in the Kentucky Derby, Animal Kingdom was a fast-closing second to Shackleford in the 2011 Preakness Stakes—again dashing any shot for a Triple Crown winner in Thoroughbred racing—and was a troubled sixth in the Belmont Stakes.

Animal Kingdom's trouble at Belmont, which included clipping heels with another horse shortly after the break, resulted in a slab fracture in the left hind end that sidelined him for the remainder of the 2011 season. Despite the abbreviated campaign, Animal Kingdom was still named champion 3-year-old of a rather lackluster group in 2011, exclusively because of the Kentucky Derby prestige.

Animal Kingdom returned to the races in early 2012 with a goal of reaching the $10 million Dubai World Cup, which is held in late March in the Middle East. However, he re-aggravated the left hind end injury while winning a Gulfstream Park allowance earlier this year and has been taken back out of training.

Super Saver (2010)--The son of Maria's Mon is perhaps best-known for providing high-profile trainer Todd Pletcher with his first Kentucky Derby win and jockey Calvin Borel with his third Kentucky Derby win in a four-year span. Super Saver never again matched his Derby effort, as he was off the board in three subsequent Grade 1 races in 2010. Super Saver was retired at the end of his 3-year-old season and is currently standing stud at WinStar Farm in Central Kentucky where he commands a fee of $20,000. His first foals will arrive at the track in the spring of 2014.

Mine That Bird (2009)--Provided the second-biggest upset in the history of the Kentucky Derby when scoring at odds of 51-to-1 in the 2009 Run for the Roses. The diminutive son of Birdstone followed his Derby win with a runner-up finish to Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness and a third in the Belmont won by Summer Bird. Unfortunately, Mine That Bird never reach the winner's circle again in nine starts following the Derby. Mine That Bird, who is a gelding and therefore unable to breed, was retired following the 2010 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. He now resides at his owners Buena Suerta Ranch in Roswell, N.M. where he will live out his days.

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