She exhibited ability as a freshman, but Ultimate Cameron's connections feel her sophomore campaign is where she will stand out. "There is no question she has improved since last year," said harness racing trainer Bob Stewart, who also conditioned the filly's dam, two-time Dan Patch award winner Cameron Hall and the filly's older full sister, Grand Cameron.
"She's actually very similar to her mother size-wise and gait-wise, but wasn't as prolific at two. I think Cameron Hall got beat her first start, didn't lose again and was the 2-year-old champion.
"This filly never had a bad race last year," he continued. "But outside of probably the Breeders Crown, where she finished second, you would never qualify any of her races as great. I don't think she ever missed a check, but she has definitely stepped up this year. In her first start back she went 1:53.4 and I think it's more mental than physical. She has figured out how to race."
The daughter of, who is owned by Diamond Creek Farm LLC, earned nearly $220,000 last year from nine race miles. Ultimate Cameron finished third in an $87,625 division of the Bluegrass Stakes and second in the $100,000 American-National Final and a $65,800 International Stallion Stakes split, as well as the $600,000 Breeders Crown Final.
This year the filly has faced the starter on three occasions and has three triumphs, with her most recent victory in the $540,290 final of the Elegantimage at Mohawk Raceway on June 26. In that race, she defeated last year's champion 2-year-old filly trotter Poof She's Gone, who outlasted her in the Breeders Crown Final.
Ultimate Cameron's next start will be this evening in a $146,250 division of the Delvin Miller Memorial Trot at the Meadowlands. She is the 9-5 morning line favorite and leaves from the five hole.
"She came out of her last race with a throat infection, so we weren't able to do a whole lot with her for about 10 days," Stewart, who resides in Lexington, Ky., explained. "She did train well on Saturday and then again on Tuesday, so I think she will be just fine. The three weeks off is a little bit of a stretch, but she needed it."
After Ultimate Cameron's fourth place finish in her Breeders Crown elimination last year, Stewart decided to make an equipment change and he feels it really aided her performance.
"Towards the end of the year we were trying to get more fire in her at the end of the mile, so we used pull out ear plugs and a pull down Kant See Back bridle," he said. "We hooked it up so when you pull the ear plugs out, you also pull the blinds down on the bridle to keep her good and focused.
"I attribute the aluminum shoes we put on her for the big race in the Breeders Crown final," Stewart continued. "We trained her in steel shoes and put the aluminum shoes on only to race. She went off at high odds (over 103-1) but that night she trotted faster than the 2-year-old colts and 3-year-old fillies. This year, she has picked up where she left off last year."
If Ultimate Cameron comes out of the Delvin Miller in good condition, the next race on her card could be the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks at the Meadowlands on August 7.
"Everything so far has been good with her and when you have a 3-year-old filly, the Oaks is always what you think of," Stewart said. "The plan for her is the Oaks, the Moni Maker, the American-National, the Breeders Crown and the Matron. We were planning on taking her to the filly counterpart of the World Trotting Derby, but that was cancelled. It leaves a gap in her schedule, but she has plenty of races.
"There isn't a better bred filly out there," he continued. "Not only is she out of Cameron Hall, who was a great mare, but this family has been unbelievable. Cameron Hall died from a stomach tumor and only had three foals, with her third foal, E L Glamour, training in Finland, but this family has certainly been good to me and we have high expectations for this filly. The eliminations and the Oaks are a tough two weeks and it's always very hot, but we hope to be in good shape for it."
Here are the fields for the two divisions in Friday night's (July 16) Del Miller Memorial.
Race 3-$146,250 Del Miller Memorial-1st division PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line1-Ipo Blue Chip-Brad Hanners-Kenneth Mitchell-10-1 2-Religulous-John Campbell-Jeffrey Webster-10-1 3-Springtime Volo-George Brennan-Jan Johnson-5-1 4-Bone A Fide-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-7-2 5-Ultimate Cameron-Trevor Ritchie-Bob Stewart-9-5 6-Wingbat-Tim Tetrick-Antonella Galie-12-1 7-In The Mean Time-David Miller-Chuck Sylvester-4-1 8-Bunny Tech-Mike Lachance-Syl King Jr.-15-1
Race 5-$146,250 Del Miller Memorial-2nd division PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line1-Impressive Kemp-Michael Vanderkemp-Noel Daley-15-1 2-Behindclosedoors-Tim Tetrick-Chuck Sylvester-8-1 3-Crown Laurel-Mike Lachance-Ron Gurfein-10-1 4-Fashion Feline-Brian Sears-Jim Campbell-5-2 5-Bramalea Hanover-David Miller-Robert Mcintosh-5-1 6-Glide Power-George Brennan-Jan Johnson-3-1 7-Jesse's Messenger-Yannick Gingras-Kent Sherman-9-2 8-Munis Blue Chip-Ray Schnittker-Ray Schnittker-8-1.
by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent
Courtesy of the US TROTTING ASSOCIATION'S Web Newsroom