06/30/2012 4:30PM

Curragh: Camelot stays unbeaten with Irish Derby victory


Camelot won for the fifth time without a defeat and survived his first trip over a heavy, laboring course, with his win Saturday evening in the Irish Derby at the Curragh giving trainer Aidan O’Brien his seventh straight victory in that Group 1 race.

Camelot, a winner in both his runs at 2, now has captured the English 2000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby, and the Irish Derby at age 3. Saturday, closing from fourth in a five-horse field, he beat Born to Sea by two lengths after the runner up tracked him and briefly made him work to maintain a lead in the homestretch.

On a course labeled soft to heavy, Camelot and jockey Joseph O’Brien galloped along with only Born to Sea behind him as stablemate Astrology made the pace, with Akeef Mofeed and Light Heavy following the leader. O’Brien steered outside for clear sailing approaching the stretch run, and as Astrology dropped tamely away, Camelot moved to take command. Born to Sea went with him and, as both horses wandered about on the tiring turf, briefly cut into the lead about a furlong out, but Camelot held him clear and crossed the wire well in command. Winning time for the 1 1/2 miles was a slow 2:43.96. Imperial Monarch, the O’Brien-trained second betting favorite, was scratched because of the wet conditions.

Joseph O’Brien said afterward that his mount won despite disliking the soft turf course, and now talk turns again to the English Triple Crown, which no horse has landed since Nijinsky in 1970. With his wins in the Guineas and Derby, Camelot, a son of Montjeu owed by the Coolmore operation, is two-thirds of the way home, with his connections giving strong hints that Camelot will indeed go for the St. Leger Stakes late this summer at Doncaster.