DONCASTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Mickael Barzalona riding Encke win The Ladbrokes St. Leger Stakes from Camelot (2L) at Doncaster racecourse on September 15, 2012 in Doncaster, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
In a scene all to familiar to race fans in the United Stakes, Camelot (GB), looking to become the first winner of the English Triple Crown in over 40 years, couldn't catch Encke in the final quarter mile and had to settle for second in the Group 1 St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster.
The Guineas and Derby winner ran near the rear of the field in the early stages through a steady but middling pace and appeared to be gaining on the leaders as the field entered the final five furlong straight. As Encke began to stride away from the field, Camelot struggled to find space along the rail and had to be switched out towards the middle of the course before he could commence a final run towards the wire. When finally in the clear, Camelot noticeably quickened but was three lengths behind Encke and couldn't make up the difference at the finish.
Michelangelo (GB) finished in third to round out the trifecta.
There is likely to be some questions asked of jockey Joseph O'Brien following Camelot's defeat given the less than ideal trip in the final furlongs. Had he been able to get Camelot into the clear at an earlier point, Encke might not have been able to "get the jump" on him. But, at the end of the day, that's horse racing: it's not just about talent, but also trip. Additionally, even a clean trip might not have made the difference for Camelot as Encke was quite strong inside the final quarter mile and didn't appear to be vulnerable at any point. Camelot, running over less testing ground and over a longer distance, didn't seem to have that final closing kick needed to win.
Encke is an American-bred colt, a son three-year-old son of Kingmambo out of a Sindar (IRE) mare (Shawanda (IRE)).
Below are the payouts from North American pools for the St. Leger: