On Wednesday, January 15, Cam Fella was officially submitted to the nominating committee by Standardbred Canada for inclusion into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Only two horses — Big Ben and Northern Dancer — have been inducted into the sports hall, and no horse has had a bigger impact on Canadian Standardbred racing than Cam Fella.
Cam Fella has been an icon in North American harness racing, having more accomplishments than any other horse in the sport. His durability, determination, and most importantly, his heart drove Cam Fella to be the champion he was and will always be remembered for.
His career on the racetrack spanned three years – 1982 – 1984. His heart and fortitude made him the champion racehorse he was – a crowd pleaser and fan favourite from the east coast to the west coast and no horse has matched Cam Fella’s popularity.
He did more than any horse to focus public attention on harness racing during the 1980s, challenging all comers at tracks across North America. He had legions of fans, his own Fan Club and many fans formed an entourage that traveled to wherever Cam Fella raced.
His exploits became legendary. His race record featured 28 consecutive victories, and earnings of over $2 million, which at the time made him the richest pacer in history.
He then retired from racing to the breeding shed and his indelible mark as a Standardbred sire changed the course of the pacing breed forever. Retired to stud in New Jersey, Cam Fella became one of the greatest stallions in the history of the standardbred horse. He sired 1,002 foals. His offspring have accumulated over $107 million and include 16 winners of at least $1 million and 270 performers that earned $100,000 or more. Average earnings per starter is an amazing $127,807. His last foal, Eternal Camnation was recently inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. She earned more than $4.1 million and won 47 of her 101 starts over six racing seasons.
In 1997, Cam’s stud career ended when he had to be gelded because of cancer. He then went on to another career, as an Ambassador for harness racing. He was taken on a tour of 27 major raceways and small-town tracks across North America to raise money for charity, attracting large crowds to greet him at every stop. At the end of the tour, he resided at the Kentucky Horse Park where he lived until he died in May, 2001.
To ensure that Cam Fella’s “unparalleled contributions to the sport would never be forgotten,” Standardbred Canada established “The Cam Fella Award” to recognize extreme effort and dedication to Canadian harness racing by an individual or group. The award was established in 1997 and fittingly Cam Fella was the first winner.
Known as “The Pacing Machine”, and “The People’s Horse”, Cam Fella was not only a great racehorse, but an incredibly majestic sire of champions and world record holders, and an exceptional Ambassador for Canadian harness racing.
Fans and supporters of Cam Fella are encouraged to share this story on social media by stating: It’s about time #CamFella2014 and posting the image attached on the right.
(From files by Standardbred Canada)