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Colt helps Firlotte’s health

November 04, 2003

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Saturday night's Super Finals at Mohawk Racetrack come with no shortage of wonderful stories, but none are so poignant as the one surrounding three-year-old pacing colt Casimir Camotion.

Veteran trainer Stew Firlotte acquired Casimir Camotion for just $8,000 as a yearling and opted not to race him as a two-year-old. After a winter of impressive training miles the Toronto resident was looking forward to qualifying the Camluck son when he suffered a stroke on June 21.

While Firlotte recovered in hospital his staff picked up the gelding's conditioning and Casimir Camotion finally made his racing debut on July 24. Since then, the pacer has posted a record of six wins, one second and one third in nine starts, including a victory in the Oct. 20 Gold Final at Mohawk, and become a symbol of hope for the Firlotte family.

"He's been a delight. I haven't been able to enjoy him as much as I would like to because of health problems, but he might be what I need to pick me up," says Firlotte, whose son Brad owns the pacer. "He not only might be, I think he is what I need to pick me up."

With just two starts in the Gold Series, Casimir Camotion squeaked into the Super Final when two colts above him in the point standings failed to enter. In spite of his comparative inexperience, the winner of $103,269 and driver Doug Brown will be among the favourites from Post 6 in the ninth race. And if the gelding can capture the lucrative season finale it will come as no surprise to Firlotte, who has been impressed with Casimir Camotion since he held off Articulator, a winner of $160,516 at two, in a training mile last winter.

"I found out last winter when he was training back that he was one of these horses that just doesn't give up," recalls the 63-year-old. "One morning Brad had Articulator and I had him and they were head-to-head and Articulator couldn't get by him. There's a 1:51 horse and he couldn't get by. When I left the track that day I had a feeling he was a pretty good horse. That was our first idea that he was the real thing.

"He means a lot to me because I had told my son (Brad), since we were into him not so heavy - some Camluck's I've paid $40,000 for - if we made any money we'd put it into a college fund for his brand new daughter," says the proud grandfather of now one-year-old Lena Elite.

If Casimir Camotion can capture Saturday's Super Final the youngest member of the Firlotte family can have her pick of the top schools in North America, and Firlotte proves the stroke did not affect his sense of humour when he quips that the Ivy League may not be in her future.

"He'll pay for Lena's college education," says the horseman. "But I don't know if there's ever been a Firlotte smart enough for Harvard."
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