Monday, December 28, 2015

Cam Casby - One of A Kind

[NOTE: Originally posted on 10/27/14, it has been a year now without Cam and we still miss her each and every day.]

“Do you mean he just left you down here…alone?”

These were the first words that Heather heard from Cam Casby.  It was Canterbury Park opening day 2013 and Cam was horrified that I just left Heather to fend for herself.  Of course that wasn’t EXACTLY the way it all went down: it was Heather’s first trip out to the track with me and she was hesitant to join me in the press box so she insisted on just enjoying opening night downstairs.

That was Cam.  She took care of you if she could.  She would take care of everyone if she could!  There was nothing she wouldn’t do for her friends and to know Cam was to be her friend.
You never knew who Cam was waving at...she knew everybody
Cam was inspirational.  Her enthusiasm for the sport was infectious.  It’s no secret that this past summer was not one of our best but whenever I’d feel like packing it in, one conversation with Cam would change all that.  I’d be rejuvenated and ready to try again.  And again.
She encouraged cheering at her table.  If you had a bet, a horse in the race or just wanted a rooting interest, she made sure you were yelling and screaming for your horse as the race unfolded.  Fun was not only encouraged, it was mandatory.
Cam was wonderful with children.  My son, Forrest, loved spending time with her.  They would talk music and the instruments they each played.  He, of our three, is the only one that loves the track as much as we do and he loved talking horses with Cam - and he took her mandate of loud rooting to heart.  There wasn't a kid introduced to Cam that didn't love her - or she love right back.
Cam didn’t like going into the paddock before races but she encouraged others to go in there and support her horse.  I wish I had a count of the number of people we brought into the paddock on her behest.  And EVERYONE was invited to the winners’ circle if she was fortunate enough to win.  Going to the track was supposed to be fun and she made sure you had it.

Cam enjoying Talkin' Bout stakes win on Festival Day, August 31, 2014
But Cam wasn’t just fun and games.  There was no greater supporter of Minnesota bred horses than Cam Casby.  She insisted that if we took care and bred carefully, our horses could compete anywhere in the country.  She put her money where her mouth was and sent her MN-breds all over the country to win races and be stakes placed.  Breed them right, train them right and then give them a chance to succeed.  And tell her it can’t be done and then stand back and watch her accomplish it!

It was a long week last week.  Rather than improving, Cam drifted away from us.  I don’t know if she could hear us or not, but I made sure that heard Wildnightattheopera’s win from Wednesday and a recap of Talkin’ Bout’s race on Saturday. 

Talkin' Bout, under Eddie Martin Jr, winning the Glitter Star Minnesota Distaff
Cam probably would have been appalled by all of us all there with her in that condition.  I can almost hear her, “There’s nothing you can do? You have a thousand other things you have to get done that you CAN affect.  You should be doing those things.  Am I wrong?”

I understand that but I couldn’t stay away either.  I wanted to hold on as long as I could.  I wanted to talk to her one more time.  There were things to share and horses to talk about.  I wanted to maybe get her annoyed enough that should would just wake up and yell at all of us. 

Of course that wasn’t meant to be and now we mourn the loss of a friend.  The entire vibe of racing in Minnesota is now changed forever.  I can’t imagine what being at the track will be like without her. Her advice, friendship and loving nature can’t be replaced. 

I would ask that Cam watch over us all as we try and move forward without her but, knowing Cam, she’s already started doing that.

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