Columbus, MN — Standardbred owner Keith Carey had plenty to celebrate on Tuesday (Sept. 8) after his 4-year-old pacing mare Nat A Cam scored a career best 1:57 win at Running Aces.
At 99 years young, Carey is the patriarch of an Iowa family that is deeply rooted in the sulky sport. He has been involved in harness racing for as long as anyone can remember, and he got started some 70 or 80 years ago with his brother Red Carey.
Affectionately called “Dudley” by family and friends, Keith Carey adores his mare and holds her dear because she was the last horse that he and his late wife of 66 years, Katherine, had together. Katherine passed away in 2017 at the age of 93.
Carey has had more than one offer to sell his mare, but will not part with her. She has had lots of success at the county fair tracks in Iowa and also won this summer at Kahoka, Mo. The win at Running Aces was her 13th triumph from 35 career starts. She is by Millionaire Cam and out of the Blissfull Hall mare Nat-A-Tat-Tat, whom the Careys had as a broodmare.
Carey’s grandson Curtis shared that his grandpa loves to take care of the mare when she is at home at the farm and noted “He does her stall himself every morning, and he loves to be there to feed her at dinnertime too.”
Keith Carey’s Columbus Junction farm is the base of operations. He has had the farm for at least 70 years according to Curtis, who was thrilled when his grandpa came up with the idea to send the mare up to Running Aces to take her shot at the “big-time” at the pari-mutuel track. The Careys have a good relationship with trainer Justin Anfinson who was more than willing to bring the mare up to Minnesota for the tryout.
Keith Carey wanted his great-nephew and Running Aces all time leading driver Nick Roland to drive his mare, and always
prefers that Nick’s brother Will Roland drives his mare in Iowa. As it turned out, Nick had a filly of his own in the same race and they decided to call on veteran reinsman Darrell Wright for the drive.
Nat A Cam turned in a stellar performance in her “tryout” by making two moves in the mile and drawing away from the field late by 3-1/2 lengths and lowering her career mark by 3-3/5 seconds.
Carey was watching on RTN from his daughter’s home in Iowa. He was filled with excitement and was vigorously rooting “come on sweety …” and was overcome with joy and pride after the big win.
Five generations of Careys were all celebrating the big win with him. He may have even enjoyed a cold beer during the celebrations too, as Curtis notes he often will do after the races at the fair.
Part of the fifth generation, Kolton Hauser got the opportunity to go his first training mile with this mare earlier this year, extending the joy she has brought to Keith to the new Carey generations too. Curtis Carey reinforced the idea that, no matter what, this mare is not going anywhere.
“Grandpa can keep her going as long as wants or is able to, and then we will breed her later on and keep the legacy going.”
Rumor has it that Keith Carey may want to let her stay at Running Aces for at least one more start. After her performance Tuesday, it’s likely she won’t be a longshot on her next go-round, and she’ll have plenty of people rooting for her to win one more for “Dudley.” He’ll be proud of her no matter how she does. And he’ll be ready to welcome her back to the farm so he can take care of her. As daughter Nancy Carey noted “She keeps him young and keeps him happy.”