by Frank Angst
Camelot will try to become the first horse in 42 years to sweep the English Triple Crown when he starts from the seven post in the Ladbrokes St. Leger Stakes (Eng-G1) on Saturday at Doncaster.
Bookmakers listed Camelot at 2-to-5 to win the 1 13/16-mile race, the final jewel of the English Triple Crown. Camelot won the QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) by a neck on May 5 before cruising to a five-length score in the Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-G1) on June 2. He enters off a two-length victory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-G1) on June 30 at the Curragh.
Trained by Aidan O'Brien for Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor, and Susan Magnier, Camelot has won all five of his starts. Besides his classic victories this year, he closed out the 2011 season with a clear victory in the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-G1). Regular rider Joseph O'Brien is scheduled to ride the Montjeu (Ire) colt on Saturday.
Scheduled for 10:40 ET, eight other three-year-olds have entered the classic that carries a purse of $884,000, including Epsom Derby runner-up Main Sequence. The Kentucky-bred Aldebaran colt has won four of six starts, including the Betfred Derby Trial (Eng-G3).
While the U.S. Triple Crown is the all-encompassing focus of U.S. horsemen with top three-year-olds, the connections of English classic winners do not always pursue all three legs. Camelot would be the 16th English Triple Crown winner and the first since Nijinsky II in 1970.
Hopes of a U.S. Triple Crown this season were dashed when Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner I'll Have Another was scratched from the Belmont Stakes (G1) because of injury one day before the race. The most recent U.S. Triple Crown winner is Affirmed in 1978.
Frank Angst is a senior writer of Thoroughbred Times