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Camille To Retire After Matchmaker

Published: April 22, 2015 5:41 pm ET

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“I think she’s proven herself to be iron tough. She raced at the top of the game and I think she more than deserves the chance to be a broodmare."

Ontario-sired Camille has made more than a million dollars on the racetrack thanks to her tenaciousness, which trainer Ron Burke deems priceless. He hopes the mare passes that quality to her offspring -- and she will get the chance following her appearance in Saturday’s $261,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker championship at Yonkers Raceway.

The Matchmaker will be Camille’s final race. Then the seven-year-old pacer, who has won 37 of 115 starts and $1.28 million, will be bred to recently retired Burke standout Sweet Lou.

“She’s a cool horse, one of my favourites. And so is Sweet Lou. So that’s kind of neat," said Burke, who owns Camille with Weaver Bruscemi LLC, M1 Stable, and Jack Piatt III.

In this year’s Blue Chip Matchmaker Series, Camille posted two wins and two second-place finishes in four preliminary races. At the conclusion of the event’s five preliminary legs, she was second in points to Carolsideal, who was unbeaten in four Matchmaker starts.

Camille and driver George Brennan will start from post eight in the Matchmaker final. Carolsideal, with driver Daniel Dube at the lines for trainer Rene Allard, will leave from post four.

“She’s been really good,” Burke said about Camille. “This is a nice way for her to end her career. We hoped for a little bit better draw [for the final], but it is what it is.”

Camille is a daughter of Camluck out of the mare Art Of Design. She is a full sister to O'Brien Award winner Chancey Lady, who earned more than $2 million during her racing career.

“She’s well bred, but I hope she passes on her grittiness,” Burke said. “She’s a fast horse, but she’s not blinding fast. She’s good gaited, but she’s not the greatest gaited. So more than anything I just hope she passes on her will to win.”

Camille won the $221,000 Ellamony at Flamboro Downs in 2012 and captured the $158,000 Artiscape at Tioga Downs in 2013 with a late rush from eighth place at the top of the stretch. The race featured fractions of :25.1, :52.3 and 1:19.4 as Camille equalled the then-world record of 1:48.3.

“That was really something,” Burke said. “That was a great race; it was a crazy mile. She hadn’t been as sharp as she’d been in the past, so to win that, it’s the [most special] race that comes to mind the quickest.”

In addition to sending out Camille in the Matchmaker, Burke will have Take It Back Terry in the $529,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship. Like his stablemate, Take It Back Terry finished second in the preliminary round standings, which were topped by P H Supercam.

Take It Back Terry, also driven by Brennan, drew post five in the Levy final. P H Supercam, with Jason Bartlett driving for trainer Jeff Bamond Jr., got post eight.

“It’s not the best draw, but it’s not the worst draw either,” Burke said. “There are enough horses in there that are going to go forward, so it’s just going to be a kind of wide-open unpredictable race.”

Take It Back Terry opened the Levy with a second-place finish, but heads to the final off three consecutive victories. Burke owns the six-year-old son of Western Terror-Second Symphony with Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. The gelding, who Burke purchased as a yearling for $30,000 in 2010, is a half-brother to stakes-winner Cuz She Can. He has won 29 of 103 races and earned $625,927 in his career.

“He’s been very good,” Burke said. “I didn’t expect this. We always expect him to race well and do well, but he’s really stepped it up a little bit extra. He’s the nicest horse in the world to be around, just easy going, and he’s consistently gotten better from year to year.

“We’ve raced him hard, so we’ll give him a break after the Levy. He’ll get two months off and then go back to the grind.”

Following is the field for the Blue Chip Matchmaker final in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line.

1. Venus Delight, Jason Bartlett, Jeff Bamond Jr., 7-5
2. Yagonnakissmeornot, Brian Sears, Rene Allard, 8-5
3. Fancy Desire, Yannick Gingras, Daniel Renaud, 12-1
4. Carolsideal, Daniel Dube, Rene Allard, 8-5
5. Monkey On My Wheel, David Miller, Andrew Harris, 8-1
6. Strings, Eric Carlson, Jennifer Sabot, 20-1
7. Krispy Apple, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 7-5
8. Camille, George Brennan, Ron Burke, 5-1

Note: Venus Delight and Krispy Apple are racing as an entry. Yagonnakissmeornot and Carolsideal are racing as an entry.

Following is the field for the Levy final in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line.

1. Domethatagain, Daniel Dube, Rene Allard, 9-1
2. Lucan Hanover, David Miller, Andrew Harris, 9-2
3. Windsong Jack, Eric Carlson, Jennifer Sabot, 20-1
4. Beach Memories, Yannick Gingras, Scott DiDomenico, 9-2
5. Take It Back Terry, George Brennan, Ron Burke, 5-2
6. Polak A, Brian Sears, Tony O’Sullivan, 15-1
7. Mach It So, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 9-5
8. P H Supercam, Jason Bartlett, Jeff Bamond Jr., 9-5

Note: Mach It So and P H Supercam are racing as an entry.

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit

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