by Chris Lomon
Wherever the horses are is the place Haley Cameron feels most at residence.
For so long as she will keep in mind, properly earlier than she started a profession in standardbred racing, the native of Antigonish, NS has at all times loved every thing equine.
So, when a possibility arose to work with a breed of horses she had no affiliation with, Cameron determined to just accept the supply.
“I’ve at all times been across the horses and at all times had a love for them since I used to be just a little woman,” she mentioned. “Round seven years in the past, I heard via the grapevine that (driver/coach) Clare MacDonald, who’s fairly massive within the Maritimes, was searching for a groom and farmhand, so I jumped on the alternative. On the time, I had no candy clue about standardbreds. I used to be an everyday present horse woman and I additionally confirmed draft horses, however seven years in the past, I set foot within the barn, and I by no means received away from it ever since.”
It might be the beginning of a journey Cameron had by no means anticipated embarking on.
Final yr, her standardbred travels took her west and south of Nova Scotia, together with time spent at considered one of racing’s most celebrated venues.
“It was a reasonably large alternative to work for Clare and her husband Kenny. Clare is the highest feminine driver within the Maritimes and is an unbelievably proficient horsewoman. I labored for her for about 5 years, however in December 2021, I moved to Ontario on my own and labored for (driver/coach, and head of TheStable.ca fractional possession group) Anthony MacDonald for a few months. That went properly. They’ve an incredible operation and a few very nice horses.
“I educated yearlings and broke them for them, and after that, (coach) Brandon Mongiello and I are very shut, so he requested me to return right down to New Jersey. I groomed for him from February to April this yr. Since I’m a Canadian citizen, I may solely keep down there for a sure time period, so I got here again residence. That was in all probability the largest spotlight for me to this point. The Meadowlands is a particular place, that’s the place Brandon raced probably the most. We additionally went to Freehold, too. I received to see a few horses I really educated right here, so it was good to reconnect with them.”
Upon her return to the Maritimes, Cameron skilled considered one of her most treasured racing highlights.
Held at Purple Shores at Charlottetown Driving Park, the annual Gold Cup & Saucer race traces its roots again to the early Nineteen Sixties and has drawn a few of the older paces in North America through the years.
This yr, a number of stakes winner Sintra took prime honors in a observe record-equaling 1:50.1.
“I used to be chosen as one of many ambassadors for the Gold Cup & Saucer, which was unbelievable. I had the privilege of representing one of many horses for a fellow Maritimer, Neil MacInnis. The horse, Rhodena Highway, completed in, in order that was one other massive spotlight for me.”
One explicit pacer, who launched his profession in jap Canada, stands out as Cameron’s private favourite.
The son of Sunshine Seashore—Pacific Playmate overcame a devastating harm to earn north of $230,000 together with 21 profession wins from 51 begins.
“After I was working for Clare, she began out first with Mappos Lion. He’s my coronary heart horse. He didn’t race at 2, however he had his first qualifier in Truro and received his first begin. He was one of many first horses I began working with and one of many first horses I jogged. I actually developed a love for him. He’s such a particular horse.”
Cameron has carefully adopted all of his triumphs.
On a visit to Ontario, her first order of enterprise was to see an outdated good friend.
“He went to Ontario as a result of he was doing so properly. The very first thing I did once I received to Ontario was to go to see him. I went straight to Paul MacDonell’s barn to see Mappos Lion. He positively knew it was me. He doesn’t like carrots, and I observed there was some in his stall. I had an apple in my hand, and he loves these, so I introduced it to him. He liked it. It was a extremely good connection to see him once more, and I like watching him race.”
Again within the barn of Clare MacDonald, Cameron is grateful for what the game has afforded her.
She laughs on the recollection of the way it began with one telephone name.
“I’ll go to Truro, (Prince Edward Island), or wherever she is. She’s my go-to particular person. Her and Kenny are like my second mother and father. They’re fantastic. They taught me just about every thing I learn about horses. I owe all of it to them for getting me concerned. I wouldn’t be right here if it wasn’t for them.”
As for what the subsequent chapter of her racing could be, Cameron has some plans on the desk.
Considered one of them may embrace being nearer to Mappos Lion.
“I’m positively staying with the horses. I’d wish to get my coach’s license. I’d like to maneuver to Ontario in some unspecified time in the future and race out of there. I’d additionally wish to get again to New Jersey. I’ve some good buddies there and I actually benefit from the ambiance and the racing.”
When she isn’t spending time with pacers and trotters, Cameron, maybe not surprisingly, is working with different horse breeds.
And similar to her standardbred life, journey is an enormous a part of her gig.
Her newest highway journey took her to the Hoosier State.
“My life is all about horses, after which repeat. I additionally present heavy horses, like Belgians and Clydesdales. Each summer time, I’m going to exhibitions across the Maritimes and present them. A few weeks in the past, I used to be in Indiana exhibiting horses and we bought 5, which was superb. I like them nearly as a lot because the standardbreds.”
No matter the place she occurs to search out herself, the one certainty is that horses will likely be entrance and heart.
“The place they’re, that’s the place I’ll be.”