One of Cam Fella’s greatest sons was Precious Bunny, who dominated harness racing like no other sophomore in North America when he became the first horse to win the Little Brown Jug, North America Cup, The Meadowlands Pace and The Adios in 1991. These four events headlined a phenomenal season in which he won 20 of 25 starts and set a single season’s earnings record of $2.2 million for owner Peter Heffering of Port Perry, Ont. He overwhelmed rivals that included Artsplace and Die Laughing.
His exploits earned him Harness Horse of the Year honors in both the United States and Canada as well as divisional honors. Bill Robinson of Hagersville, Ont., conditioned and managed Precious Bunny, who was driven primarily by either John Campbell or Jack Moiseyev. The “Bunny” was originally the property of Alfred Ochsner Jr., who operated a small farm in central New Jersey. Ben Stafford, who was stabled near Garden State Park, N.J., gave the colt his early lessons while his son Jody drove him throughout his 2-year-old season. Flashes of gate speed were evident early in an elimination heat of the Lou Babic Pace at Freehold, N.J. Heffering purchased Precious Bunny in December, 1990, for a reported $125,000.
The following June at Greenwood, Precious Bunny and driver John Campbell delighted an ecstatic crowd of 17,489 when he left from the rail and cruised to a three and one quarter length victory in the North America Cup in 1:53. “Bunny” also collected stakes victories in the Art Rooney Memorial, Windy City Stake, Cleveland Classic and the New Jersey Stakes. His race record was 1:49.4 and his 1:50.4 equaled the world record for sophomores on a five-eighths mile track.
Upon his retirement he entered stud duty and is the sire of Bunny Lake, who became just the second pacing mare to in history to earn more than $3 million. She was the USTA Horse of the Year and 3-year-old filly pacing champion of 2001. He also sired Breeders Crown winners John Street North, Before Sunrise and Stout (1:49.2), who was second by the slimmest of margins in the North America Cup and The Meadowlands Pace and was the 1996 O’Brien Award winner as champion 3-year-old colt. Precious Bunny’s OSS stars include Precious Delight, who won O’Brien Awards as champion juvenile pacing filly in 2001 and 3-year-old champion the following year, and Serious Comfort, the fastest 2-year-old filly in OSS history and an O’Brien winner in 2003.
Precious Bunny stood at Castleton Farm in New York from 1992 to 2000. He has sired North American winners of more than $50 million, with 181 in 1:55, 142 $100,000 winners and three millionaires, including 2001 U.S Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Bunny Lake p,1:49s ($2,843,476), Stout p,1:49.2 ($1,506,390) and 2001 O’Brien Award winner Precious Delight p,3,1:51.1 ($1,096,981).
Precious Bunny was exported to New Zealand in September 2000 and enjoyed his retirement at Empire Stallions in Victoria, Australia.
At age 27, Precious Bunny passed away on April 20, 2015 at Empire Stallions in Victoria, Australia.
updated June 25, 2015