Cameron Capone on the excitement of competition
by Chris Lemon
The drive to thrive has always been a part of Cameron Capone’s life.
Whether it’s past days on the racetrack, on the carpet, in the field, or current times on the racetrack, the young rider from New Jersey is always up for a good challenge.
And this is exactly what standard horse races gave him.
“You’ll lose more than you gain. That’s just the way the sport works, but there’s no better feeling than working with a horse to experience the thrill of winning,” Capone said.
The son of accomplished driver and trainer Mark Capone, he had a long-standing relationship with horses and horse racing.
Although he does not remember all of the early experiences and interactions, there are plenty of photos that depict the immediate fascination and enjoyment of the horses that were under his father’s watchful eye.
“I’ve always participated. My dad always had a barn of 25-30 horses when I was a little kid. Honestly, he took me on a jogging buggy when I was two. When I was 10, I was riding a race bike. I feel like I’ve always had Connected with the races and the horses. I enjoyed being around the horses and being on the track, just loving what my dad was doing.”
The younger Capone’s passion for horse athletes and the sport in which they competed continued to grow over the years.
It was in his mid-teens when he began to realize that a career in horse racing was for him. A few years later, when he entered the university, this feeling only increased.
“Maybe when I was 16, I knew I wanted to do it. My dad really pushed me to go to college, and when I was there, I knew I really wanted to do it.”
Working alongside his father, Cameron was a keen student, collecting invaluable tips and advice each day he was in the barn.
The more he works with horses, the more interested he is in going out one day on his own.
“My father always told me to treat the horses the best way I could. He gave the horses the best care, the best fodder, and the best hay. He was committed to keeping them as healthy, happy, and sound as possible. His horses always looked great. The main thing I learned is not to cut any corners.”
On March 19th, Cameron sat the qualifying bike race at Freehold. He teamed up with Miss B, a daughter seasoned in the arts footsteps of Major-Misbet, to finish third, albeit a distant winner.
Five months later he was partnered by Holy Grail N, in another Freehold heat, with the final result being a 4 length win.
This past May, he drove in his first race of the pair, a money-losing race at the Meadowlands.
In the same month he achieved his first victory in training, a feat which came in Freehold with his 8-year-old sprint Miss Madame Lisa A.J.
“She came up to me, and I was told, ‘You can’t do this, and you can’t do that to her.'” So, she didn’t race with a lot of equipment. She finished fifth the first time she raced for me, but the next time, she went the whole mile and won by three lengths in 1:56.4. She was really strong that day. It was so cool. I remember the announcer saying she had a lot in reserve. It was nice to be able to get that first win, to give you that confidence.”
The 7-year-old pacer Davids Coming Home was also a standout for father and son.
The son of A Rocknroll Dance – Arterra, who has raked in over $208,000 in career earnings, first came into Mark Capone’s fold in 2020.
“We claimed him for $7,500 at Freehold and then he made the pass next time at the same level. We brought him to the Meadowlands and he won in 1:52. Then he came back and we beat him in line. He didn’t win, but he did well for us, and that was great.”
Two months earlier, the Davids Coming Home had been claimed back by Cameron, who co-owned the testicle with George Tackley and Wendy Storeyer.
He also co-owns Passa Grille Beach, has a 7-year-old son from Somebeachsomewhere – KuteKatie who got him to his first 1:50 mile.
“We have five horses now, but I would like to get that number somewhere between 10 and 15. Next year, I would like to have 50 wins a season, if at all possible. Those would be my short-term goals. I feel like the long-term goal for everyone is Developing kids and trying to produce a world champion. I’d really like to be like the big barns and have 80-100 horses.”
When he’s not at the barn in the morning or at the track in the evening, Cameron, an outstanding multi-sport athlete in high school, jumps at the chance to relive his soccer days.
It’s also an opportunity to feed his competitive nature.
“I’d love to do anything. We have the Turkey Cup this week, with a bunch of soccer teams we’ve built together. A bunch of my friends are coming over, so that’ll be great. I played soccer, I wrestled, I played lacrosse… I was always a sporty kid. I Also I love golf very much. I’ve been playing a lot of golf in the past few years. Anything that keeps me active puts a smile on my face.”
These endeavors, even when the bottom line doesn’t count, are still a reminder of what it takes to be successful in the racing world.
Win or lose on the racetrack, Cameron feels privileged to be part of an industry he has admired for years.
“You can never get too far ahead of yourself in racing. You can always believe you are the best, but there is always someone better than you….unless you are Ron Burke. But pushing yourself to be on top of your game, making sure your horses are happy and healthy, and giving them the best chance To win, these are the things that drive me every day.”
As for what the best part of his job is, it’s by no means a surprise.
“You get to work with these amazing animals, and you get to form a bond with most of them. I think that’s the coolest part of this job. You bring people around horses, and they usually always fall in love with them. That’s what it’s like for me.”
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