Robert W. Camac

Robert W. Camac

Horseracing personalities infobox
name = Robert W. Camac

caption =
occupation = Trainer
birthplace = United States
birth date = August 21, 1940
death date = December 6, 2001
career wins = 1,811
race = Miss Woodford Stakes (1984, 1987)
Astarita Stakes (1986)
Correction Handicap (1988, 1989)
First Flight Handicap (1988)
Interborough Handicap (1989)
Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (1991)
Philip H. Iselin Handicap (1992)
Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes (1993, 1997)
Correction Handicap (1998, 1989)
Jimmy Winkfield Stakes (1997)
Cotillion Handicap (1999)
awards =
honours = Robert Camac Memorial Handicap at Philadelphia Park
horses = Wire Me Collect, Jolie's Halo
Wide Country, Cagey Exuberance

Robert W. Camac (August 21, 1940 - December 6, 2001) was an American horse trainer and owner/breeder in Thoroughbred racing whose life ended in tragedy.

Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Bob Camac came from a Thoroughbred horse racing family in which two of his uncles worked as trainers. He became a professional trainer in 1976 and built a successful career working primarily at smaller racetracks in Delaware and Philadelphia. In 1988, he was the leading trainer for the fall-winter meet at Philadelphia Park Racetrack and although he was never in the national limelight until after his death, during his career Camac trained the winners of 1,811 races. A well-respected and well-liked trainer, fellow horseman John Servis told "The New York Times" that Camac "was more than just a trainer, he was a good businessman and would manage his owners' stables. Not too many guys had the kind of overall knowledge he had."

For a number of years Bob Camac trained horses for stable owner Arthur I. Appleton, earning a Grade I win in the 1992 Philip H. Iselin Handicap with Jolie's Halo. Camac bred the 2003 New Jersey horse of the year, Gators N Bears, but it was Smarty Jones who was his most important breeding accomplishment. Camac trained for Roy and Patricia Chapman, owners of Someday Farm. For them, Camac purchased the filly I'll Get Along for just $40,000 at the 1993 Keeneland September yearling sale. I'll Get Along won twelve races and earned $276,969 and then as a broodmare, Camac suggested that the Chapmans breed her to Elusive Quality. They agreed, and Camac arranged the mating which on February 28, 2001 produced a colt given the name Smarty Jones.


Sixty-year-old Robert Camac and his fifty-five-year-old wife, Maryann V. Camac, were shot to death at their farm in Pedricktown, New Jersey on December 6, 2001. [ [ "Trainer Camac, wife shot to death, stepson charged"] , "Thoroughbred Times", December 7, 2001. Accessed May 15, 2008. "Robert Camac, a veteran trainer for over 40 years, was found dead from gunshot wounds along with his wife, Maryann, at the couple's Camac Thoroughbred Horse Farm in Oldmans Township, New Jersey, early Thursday morning."] Their funeral service was held at Trinity United Methodist Church in Pennsville, New Jersey and they were buried in Gracelawn Memorial Park in New Castle.

Arrested and charged with their deaths was thirty-six-year old Wade Russell, Maryann Camac's son from a previous marriage. Russell plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter and was sentenced to twenty-eight years in prison. He later had to be transferred to a psychiatric facility in Trenton, New Jersey, after authorities had to place him on suicide watch.

Following Bob Camac's death, Roy and Patricia Chapman sold most of their horses but on the advice of a friend, kept Smarty Jones. Had Camac lived, he would have been the trainer of a colt who went on to eight straight wins from nine starts including victories in the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes who was voted American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse honors.



* [ Robert Camac's obituary at]
* [ May 12, 2004 "New York Times" article titled "Derby Success Tinged With Sadness"]

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