ELKTON, Md. - Graham Motion loves being surrounded by acres of lush grass while working in peaceful solitude at the Fair Hill Training Center.
Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom does, too, it seems.
Which is why Motion is strongly considering waiting until Saturday to ship his chestnut colt 40 miles south to Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness.
After watching Animal Kingdom gallop 11/2 miles Monday in relative obscurity, Motion decided there was no rush to move his horse from spacious Herringswell Stables to a cramped Stall 40 at Pimlico, the traditional home of the Derby winner.
"I'm leaning more toward Saturday morning," Motion said. "I have quite a few horses to run on Saturday, and that's what they're going to do. I don't really know why I need to do anything differently with [Animal Kingdom]. He's very happy here, and I just want to keep things as normal as they can be."
Motion is the first Maryland-based trainer to win the Derby since Michael Matz saddled Barbaro in 2006. Before Barbaro tragically broke his right hind leg in the Preakness, the undefeated bay colt enjoyed munching on buttercups and running free on the heavenly green fields of Fair Hill, an equine oasis nestled in the hills of this rural community.
It's the perfect place for Motion and Animal Kingdom, who won the Derby at odds of 20-1.
"Pimlico, unfortunately, is pretty much tarmac everywhere," Motion said. "Here we've got this beautiful property where we can do so many different things. . . . It's just a much more natural environment for the horses."
Born in England, the 46-year-old Motion still has an accent after decades of living in the United States. He spent only one summer overseas as a horseman, yet he's constantly asked how his European roots have influenced his methods on the track.
Although Motion insisted he's no different from his peers, he acknowledged that Fair Hill is a reminder of a place back home.
"I spent a summer in France. I was brought up in Europe, but I never really worked in racing there," Motion said. "My way of training is more about what I learned from Jon Sheppard, who's in Pennsylvania. Everybody wants to emphasize the European angle. But I don't do things in a European manner. This just happens to be a much more European-style facility."
Motion long ago made a name for himself in Maryland, but Animal Kingdom's win at Churchill Downs earned him fame around the world. The victory was even more noteworthy because it came after his other entrant in the Derby, Wood Memorial winner Toby's Corner, was scratched days before the race.