Before life ended, trainer brought `Jones' into world

After shooting death of Camac, wife, Chapmans held on to colt

April 29, 2004|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bob Camac, a respected trainer on the Mid-Atlantic circuit, was responsible for the breeding that produced Smarty Jones. Camac's life came to a tragic end before he saw the fruits of that mating.

Camac lived in New Jersey, raced throughout the Mid-Atlantic and trained horses for, among others, Patricia and Roy Chapman. The Chapmans are retired and divide their time between homes near Sarasota, Fla., and in New Hope, Pa.

Upon Camac's recommendation, they bought the filly I'll Get Along for $40,000 at the 1993 Keeneland September yearling auction. Camac trained her, and she raced five years, won 12 races and earned $276,969. When she retired, Camac recommended to the Chapmans that they breed her to Elusive Quality, a Kentucky sire who had been a top-flight sprinter. The mating produced Smarty Jones.

Ten months after the foal's birth, Camac, 61, and his wife, Maryann, 55, were shot to death at their farm in December 2001 in Pedricktown, N.J. The wife's son, Wade Russell, 36 at the time, was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison. Prosecutors said the shooting rose from a dispute over money between Camac and his stepson.

Despondent over Camac's death and limited by Roy Chapman's failing health, the Chapmans, who had already sold their farm, sold most of their horses. They were going to sell them all but decided at the last minute to keep two and let John Servis, whom Camac had spoken highly, train them.

One was Smarty Jones.

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