10/14/2013 11:56AM

Camelot, three-time classic winner, retired

Patrick McCann
Camelot won the English 2000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby, and the Irish Derby this year.

Camelot, whose quest to become the first English Triple Crown winner since 1970 was thwarted by three-quarters of a length, has been retired from racing after coming up lame Monday morning, according to his Coolmore Stud-affiliated owners.

The 4-year-old son of Montjeu will make his debut as a stallion in 2014, standing at Coolmore’s Irish base in Co. Tipperary, Ireland. He had been training toward a start in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 2.

An $875,936 purchase by Demi O’Byrne on behalf of the Coolmore partnership at the 2010 Tattersalls October yearling sale, Camelot established himself at the head of his class in Europe, winning his first five starts.

As a juvenile, he won the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy in England, setting him up for a 3-year-old campaign that put the colt in a position to make history. The first two starts of his 2012 season came in the Group 1 English 2,000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby, both wins.

In between those races and the English St. Leger, which is the third leg of the country’s Triple Crown, Camelot shipped to Ireland to add another classic win to his résumé in the Grade 1 Irish Derby.

"From the very first time we saw him at the sales we just loved him," trainer Aidan O'Brien said. "He was the perfect racehorse, a beautiful horse with a terrific action. Speed, class and a super-intelligent horse to go with it – he had it all.

After much fanfare, Camelot came up three-quarters of a length short in his Triple Crown quest, finishing behind Encke in the St. Leger. He then was sent to France to compete in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the country’s marquee race, where he finished seventh.

Just days after his Arc effort, Camelot came down with a severe bout of colic, which required surgery. He returned to the races seven months later with a win in the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes in Ireland, and then finished second in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup. His last start came in a fourth-place effort in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes in England.

"Unfortunately we never saw the same brilliance on the racecourse as we had done before his colic operation but he was showing signs of it at home in recent weeks so it's obviously disappointing that he won't get the opportunity to run again," O’Brien said.

Camelot retires with six wins in 10 starts for earnings of $2,990,639. Five of those six wins came in group stakes company.

Bred in /England by Sheikh Abdulla bin Isa al-Khalifa, Camelot is out of the Group 3-winning Kingmambo mare Tarfah, who is the dam of two winners from as many foals to race.