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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cam's Card Shark's Legacy

Hanover recently announced that 23-year-old Cam's Card Shark, who was HOY and POY in 1994 and is a HOF Immortal, has been retired. His greatest racing son in North America, Bettors Delight, is also his top siring son, in NA and Down Under. He dwarfs the rest of Cam's Card Shark’s progeny on the track and in the shed. Bettors Delight was not HOY in the U.S. like his dad but he did win that honor in Canada. He also won a Dan Patch at two, something his sire didn’t do.

It’s noteworthy that two of Cam’s Card Shark’s three most successful sons, Bettor’s Delight and Roll With Joe, are out of the HOF Immortal Classic Wish, who also gave us No Pan Intended (Pacific Fella). In addition, his top filly, Showherthemoney, is half to the outstanding Put On A Show (Rocknroll Hanover). This isn’t an extreme case of a single broodmare making a stallion, as did Romola Hanover with Dancer Hanover and Amour Angus with Garland Lobell, but it is worth noting.

Extreme speed is one quality Cam’s Card Shark never skimped on. Holborn Hanover still holds his :46.4 race mark, eight years after he set it. And what about Kingcole; he hasn’t won much but I believe Gingras labeled him the fastest horse he ever sat behind. He matched the WR in his Hempt elimination, and who can forget him taking the field to the three-quarters in 118.2 in the New Jersey Classic. Panther Hanover got the :47.2 record, but Kingcole made the mile. While Kingcole may lack the grit to match his speed, Shark Gesture had both qualities in abundance. His :48.2 win in the 2010 Haughton, from the nine post, on the outside for most of the mile, serves as a fine illustration of that. One can also reference his w-w win in the CPD over Bettor Sweet, Mister Big, WTW and Art Official. He matched the track record of :48.1, finishing with none of them lapped on him.

Stakes wins by his progeny serve as one way to judge a stallion. Cam’s Card Shark sired two Pace winners, Holborn Hanover and Roll With Joe. The former snuck up the rail for Jim Morrill and won in :49 at 58/1, while RWJ won in :48.2 for Pierce at 5/1. Bettor’s Delight is his only NA Cup winner, while that one, Million Dollar Cam and Timesareachanging all won the Jug. The latter was first up at the half for Pierce and went a big mile in Delaware. And he went another brave first over mile to win the Adios. He also wired the field in the Cane. Cam’s Card Shark showed a lot of heart during his racing days and that was passed on to Times and Shark Gesture. Million Dollar Cam exhibited this marriage of heart and speed in the second heat of the Jug, as he wired the field in a WR :50.2 for Luc Ouellette. He hit the quarter in a stakes record 25.4 and just kept dishing out the pain.

Bettors Delight and Shark Gesture both won the Tatersalls Pace, while, in addition to Timesareachanging, Four Starzzz Shark and Royalflush Shark also won the Cane. Riverboat King, Million Dollar Cam and Village Jolt also won the Adios. Roll With Joe was his only Messenger winner while RWJ and Fresh Deck both took the Battle.

All Speed Hanover, Bettor’s Delight and Village Jolt won the BC at two while Shark Gesture is up to now the only sophomore to win a Crown race. Bettor’s Delight was the only Governor’s Cup winner, and he also won the Nasagaweya, along with Shadyshark Hanover and Kingcole. I believe that is the latter’s only stakes win, his world class speed notwithstanding. Whitefish Falls and Village Jolt both took the Wilson, while Cardholder and Shark Ingested won splits of the Niatross. He has no Metro winners. Village Jolt won an O’Brien at two. The latter, Shadyshark and All Speed were highly regarded coming out of their freshman campaigns, but all three failed, to one degree or another, to live up to the promise they’d shown.

No daughter of Cam’s Card Shark has earned division honors in the U.S. or Canada. There are no BC winners among them.  Showherthemoney dwarfs her paternal sisters. BC winner Fox Valley Topaz won that division at two and Yellow Diamond, who also won the BC, was division queen at three. Still, Showherthemoney won the Jugette handily in :53 for Jim Morrill; she also took the Garnsey and the Nadia. She equaled the WR when she drew off by six for Luc Ouellette in the latter. Showherthemoney is the only Cam’s Card Shark filly to capture any of those stakes. She also won splits of the Shady Daisy and the Bluegrass. None of his mares have gone on to win the Milton, Overbid, Artiscape or Allerage Mare.

The aged pacers, on the other hand, have done pretty well on the stakes circuit. Shark Gesture has never won that division but he took both the Haughton and Graduate twice, and also won the CPD, Bettor’s Delight and Dan Patch. The sons of Cam’s Card Shark have been successful in Canada in their aged form. Aahm Canadian Now and Anderlecht won the Des Smith; Four Starzzz Shark won the Molson, as well as the Haughton; Royalflush Hanover took the Provincial Cup in 1999 and the Mohawk/Woodbine Gold Cup, as well as the Progress and Dan Patch; and Eighteen won the Gold Cup & Saucer in 2012. Gehrig also won the Provincial Cup in 2000. Holborn Hanover won the USPC and the Allerage Open as a five-year-old.

Cam’s Card Shark has plenty of time to burnish his reputation as a broodmare sire, but just during the last couple of years his unraced daughter, Shot Togo Bluechip, produced the 2012 Meadowlands Pace, BC and division winner Heston Blue Chip as well as last year’s Adios and Tattersalls Pace winner, Sunfire Blue chip. And another daughter, Wichita Hanover, gave us A Rocknroll Dance, who set world records on half and five-eighths tracks at one point in 2013. Rare Jewel, Annieswesterncard, Drop Red, Valentino, Armbro Deuce and Mach A Wish are also out of his mares.

It appears that it is up to one of Cams Card Shark’s sons to extend the branch running through Meadow Skipper, Most Happy Fella and Cam Fella. Skipper and MHF will live on regardless but Cam Fella may not. Moreover, it appears to be up to sixteen-year-old Bettor’s Delight to get it done. Thus far he has not: no siring son of BD has been able to impersonate an extender, but there’s time. Well, there’s some time. Cheddar? I don’t think so.

Joe FitzGerald


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