10/26/2014 11:14AM

Legendary Minnesota owner-breeder Casby dies


SHAKOPEE, Minn. – Minnesota racing lost a legend Saturday when owner-breeder Camelia Casby died at the age of 63. Casby never recovered from a massive heart attack that occurred Oct. 18.

Casby, a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame, will be remembered not only for the Minnesota champions she bred and raced but also for her strong belief that Minnesota-bred horses should be able to compete anywhere.

“If the breeding is done carefully and we’re willing to spend the money, there is no reason Minnesota bred horses cannot win races anywhere in the country,” Casby once said.

Casby backed up her assertions with action as she sent her Minnesota-bred horses to other racetracks to compete with no reservations, even winning with Minnesota-bred first-time starter Polar Plunge at Fair Grounds in a maiden special weight.

Her divisional champions included Polar Plunge and Talkin Bout, and she also campaigned the New York-bred multiple stakes winner Law Enforcement, whom she brought to Minnesota to stand at stud at Dove Hill Farm. Her latest winner came in a New York-bred allowance race Wednesday at Belmont with her homebred filly Wildnightattheopera.

“Cam’s passing leaves a void in Minnesota racing that will be impossible to fill,” said Canterbury Park President and CEO Randy Sampson. “She experienced great success as a breeder and owner and has made a huge contribution to racing at Canterbury Park since we reopened in 1995. She had many friends in this industry and should be remembered certainly for her racing success but more so for her kindness and generosity. Cam always put the interests of her horses and the people that cared for them first.”

“Cam wanted women to succeed in this business,” Dove Hill Farm owner Lisa Duoos said.  “She was so helpful to me and was one of my biggest cheerleaders.  She was a great friend, and I already miss her terribly.”

“I’ve known Cam my entire life,” recalled Alex Canchari, one of Canterbury’s leading riders. “She was such a sweet lady that would bring presents every Christmas for my older brother, sister, and me when we were kids. I am really so sad about this.”

Casby once bought bicycles for all the kids on the backside at Canterbury Park. Another year, she donated a substantial number of books for the track’s summer program for backstretch workers’ children.

“Cam was unfailingly kind,” said horse owner Heather Frisbie. “She took me under her wing from the beginning, was willing to share her ideas, could talk breeding for hours, and even tried to protect me a bit. I learned a lot from her, and I cannot fathom what it will be like at Canterbury without her.”

Casby is survived by a brother, Kurt, and her mother, Sylvia. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Kim Myers More than 1 year ago
So very, very sad to hear this news. Cam was a one of a kind-caring, and devoted to her horses and the game. I was honored to have her entrust me with the boarding & foaling of several of her mares back in early 2004 and for several years thereafter. A few stake winners came from those foals (Law Enforcement, Laurentide Ice, etc.) and she was always so thrilled with her NY Breds-in addition to those bred in her home state of MN. She will be deeply missed. God Speed, dear Cam..
Rebecca Soliday More than 1 year ago
Cam was a very nice woman with such an interesting life story. Just a couple of years ago, I had a long conversation with her about her career. Not only was she such an accomplished person in the world of horse racing, but she had also been a lawyer. She was incredibly intelligent, knowledgeable and yet down to earth and humble. I will miss seeing her face at Canterbury. R.I.P. Cam.
Carolyn Davies More than 1 year ago
She shall be missed! I talked to her on the last day of racing we hugged and said to each other" See you next season if not Before" always had time for a chat when she had no horses racing lol! i always tryed to make it a point to go up to her table when she had horses running to wish her good luck! I was totally shocked when i heard at what had happened Yes she had kind words for everyone! Yes she will be greatley missed!
Lyn Cowan More than 1 year ago
Sad day for MN racing and lovers of the sport everywhere. She was a gem..
Keith Valentine More than 1 year ago
Cam said to me 3 weeks ago..."two horses I bred ran 2nd at Keeneland and Santa Anita" pretty cool"... Indeed...She had horses running All over the country and even named one " The boys at the bar" that won at Turfway... Now that 's cool...RIP CAM:(
John Smith More than 1 year ago
Sad news. R.I.P. Cam. You were the queen of Mn owners and breeders. You will be missed.