The St. Leger, the third leg of the English Triple Crown, is also the world’s oldest classic race. Lucarno entered the race off an impressive win in the Ladbrokes Great Voltigeur Stakes (Eng-II) at York in August.
As he did in the Great Voltigeur, trainer Aidan O’Brien had four colts entered in the St. Leger: Mahler, Macarthur, Honolulu, and Acapulco. Once again, the Coolmore brigade was no match for Lucarno, as the best the O’Brien trainees could do was second, third, sixth, and eighth.
Mick Kinane sent Mahler to the front from the break, and the pair led the field at a comfortable gallop for much of the 14 furlongs. Jimmy Fortune kept Lucarno in sixth position throughout, and the duo moved smoothly to the front with one furlong left.
Mahler appeared to stumble slightly, but quickly regained his stride and battled back. He was no match for Lucarno, who went on to win by one length.
Honolulu got up for third, three-quarters of a length behind Mahler. Final time for the 14 furlongs was 3:02.97 over good to firm turf.
Winning trainer John Gosden only committed to running Lucarno five days ago, after being convinced by owner George Strawbridge that the colt possessed the required stamina.
Gosden said after the race, “He is a really, really good horse, but was a little immature as a 2-year-old, which is why he didn’t run. He worked well in the autumn last year and has run nothing but fabulous races all year.”
George Strawbridge made the trip from Pennsylvania to see his homebred colt capture the classic. Strawbridge is a former steeplechase jockey and is a member of the U.S. Jockey Club. He told reporters, “I’m used to steeplechases where they go three miles, so this is like a sprint to me.
“I’m so proud of this horse, who actually comes from a fast family. The mare won over six furlongs, and here he is winning the St. Leger, which is why we had worries over his stamina.”
Lucarno is a 3-year-old bay colt by Dynaformer out of Vignette, by Diesis. He was bred in Pennsylvania by his owner.