Remarkable Horses in Canada: Cam Fella

cam fella standardbred racehorse

By Margaret Evans 

In the July/August 2017 issue of Canadian Horse Journal, we celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary with stories of 20 exceptional horses that have reflected our values and fired our national pride. One of those horses was Can Fella.

Cam Fella, the brown stallion by Most Happy Fella out of Nan Cam was bred by W.R. Cameron and foaled May 14, 1979 in Lexington, Kentucky. He was sold as a yearling at the 1980 Tattersall’s sale for $19,000 and just a year later in 1981 was sold for $140,000.

cam fella standardbred racehorse

Canadian-owned and trained Cam Fella, aka “The Pacing Machine,” became the richest pacing horse on record during his career. Photo courtesy of Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Cam Fella was trained and driven by Pat Crowe during his racing career and the amazing pacer had thousands of adoring fans. His final start came at Greenwood Raceway, Toronto, in December 1983. It was his 28th consecutive victory that year and his 61st win in 80 career starts.

The Kentucky-born, Canadian-owned and trained legendary Standardbred racehorse Cam Fella became the richest pacing horse on record at the time and earned the nickname “The Pacing Machine.” He earned a record $2,041,367 during a three-year racing season from 1981 to 1983, and earned two consecutive Horse of the Year titles (1982 and 1983). 

Cam sired 1,002 foals, many of which went on to become world champions and competition horses that collectively earned over $106 million. He sired five pacers that each won over $2 million. He suffered from testicular cancer and in 1997 he was gelded. In that year, he was taken on a goodwill tour and visited racetracks across North America. Standardbred Canada created the Cam Fella Award to recognize the extreme effort and dedication to Canadian harness racing by an individual or group. 

Cancer continued to trouble Cam Fella and, in May 2001, he was euthanized after the disease had spread to his kidneys. 

Cam Fella is a member of both the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the US Harness Racing Hall of Fame.

More by Margaret Evans

Main photo courtesy of Horse Racing Hall of Fame