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Camelot makes history as Queen watches

By Alysen Miller, CNN
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Sat June 2, 2012
Teenage jockey Joseph O'Brien rode his father's horse Camelot to victory at Epsom Racecourse on Saturday.
Teenage jockey Joseph O'Brien rode his father's horse Camelot to victory at Epsom Racecourse on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Camelot wins English horse racing's Epsom Derby, as Queen watches
  • Event marks the start of British ruler's Diamond Jubilee celebrations this weekend
  • Camelot's trainer and jockey become first father-son combination to win race
  • The horse has now completed two legs of the prestigious English Triple Crown

Epsom, England (CNN) -- Watched by the Queen of England, hot favorite Camelot won the Epsom Derby on Saturday, setting up a potential tilt at English horse racing's Triple Crown.

Camelot, with odds of 13-8, added the prestigious title to his 2,000 Guineas win in comfortable fashion, triumphing by five lengths. He will now be targeted at the St. Ledger Stakes later this year, according to his owner. If successful, he will become the first horse since the great Nijinsky in 1970 to win the treble.

With Camelot trained by Aiden O'Brien and ridden by his 19-year-old son Joseph, history was made on the weekend of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The pair became the first father-son/trainer-jockey combination to win England's premier Classic race.

Aiden O'Brien's other horse in the race, Astrology, finished third after leading the eight-horse field into the straight before Camelot and Main Sequence surged past.

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It continued the O'Briens' domination of the English flat racing season, having already captured the 1,000 Guineas with Homecoming Queen, the 2,000 Guineas with Camelot and the Oaks (for fillies) with Was at Epsom on Friday.

Britain's horse-loving queen

The family had earlier scooped Saturday's other main race, the Coronation Cup.

Queen Elizabeth chose to commence her weekend of celebrations with a visit to Epsom Downs. An avid racing fan, the Queen has attended all but two Derbies during her 60-year reign.

Before a capacity crowd of more than 100,000 people, the 86-year-old and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, were driven on to the course as opera singer Katherine Jenkins sang the national anthem.

Trainer's date with Epsom destiny?

Among the cheering crowds were many racegoers who embraced the Diamond Jubilee theme, with variations on the red, white and blue color scheme visibly in evidence among the usual confection of hats and headpieces.

The Epsom Derby is England's premier "Classic" -- a series of races for three-year-olds that also comprises the 1,000 Guineas, the 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St. Ledger.

The 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks are fillies-only races. Of the three remaining events, the treble is rarely attempted these days, due to its longer length of the St. Ledger of a mile and six furlongs.

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