Racehorse owned by Edwardsville High School hockey coach is named after his stepson - petsitterbank

Racehorse owned by Edwardsville High School hockey coach is named after his stepson

As a racehorse, Bam Bam Cam qualifies as an old-timer. But just like his namesake, hes proven himself to be a winner.

The 11-year-old horse owned by Rob Wiemers, an assistant hockey coach at Edwardsville High School, won three races this season at FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing (formerly Fairmount Park) after not racing for five years due to injuries. Trained by Harry Lynch, the horse is named after Wiemers’ 19-year-old stepson, Cam Gillen, a former EHS hockey player.

Wiemers was in horse racing briefly in the 1990s with some friends. He got back into it in 2014 when he had the opportunity to own part of a horse farm in Waterloo.

We had some mares that were in foal and a young stock of horses, and Bam Bam was one of them,” said Wiemers, who is entering his eighth year as a hockey coach at Edwardsville. We grew it from there and, over the course of time, and we had our ups and downs. But I met Harry (Lynch) last year and he became our full-time trainer this year.

With Bam Bam, I fell in love with the horse when he was a baby,” Wiemers said. “I wanted to name a horse after my stepson Cameron, who got the nickname Bam Bam Cam during his early hockey days because he liked to hit everything. We were all excited about getting the horse to the track and, the next thing you know, he fractured his leg in training.”

Bam Bam Cam was 4 years old when he fractured his leg, which healed after Wiemers and his veterinarian put a cast on it. The horse came back to run in a couple of out-of-state races and won them, but he got hurt again.

We thought it might be time to keep him on the farm for a while, thinking that a couple of years might help,” said Wiemers, a general contractor in the storm remediation business. “But it turned out to be five years.

I had some other trainers look at him and they didn’tt know if he was going to be able to run again, but along came Harry,” he said. “I told Harry that Bam Bam was always happy on the track and lets see if he can run again so my stepson Cam can actually see him race.”

Cam Gillen, a 2021 EHS graduate, was captain of the hockey team during his senior year. He scored the shootout goal to beat Granite City for the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association (MVCHA) championship.

He went on to play last year for the St. Louis Junior Blues and is now playing in Fresno, California, for the Fresno Monsters of the United States Premier Hockey League.

Before he had to leave for California, Cam got to see Bam Bam run aa few races down here and he was in the winners circle with him,” Wiemers said. He helped saddle the horse one time and he has kept up with the horse while hes in Fresno. “It was a very special summer for us.

He thinks its pretty cool having a horse named after him. A lot of his buddies have come down here and watched the horse run with him.”

After a week or two of working with Bam Bam Cam, Lynch wasnt sure if the horse would be able to race again. But his opinion would change.

About a week later, I got a call from Harry, and he said, I don’tdon’t know whats happening, but he thinks heits 2-year-old,” Wiemers said. He took Bam Bam this year and won three races in a row plus one second place and one third place. He had a great season with him (at FanDuel).”

The 2022 racing season at FanDuel ended on Sept. 24. Wiemers and Lynch are getting ready to take Bam Bam Cam to Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago for a short slate of races this fall.

Well take him there in the next couple of weeks and weI’ll see how he does,” Wiemers said. At 11 a.m.s coming back healthy every time hes on the track.”

The schedule at Hawthorne runs through December, but were only going to run him a couple times there and give him some time off and bring him back here (at FanDuel) next year,” Lynch added.

Lynch, who operates Lynch Stables at FanDuel with his wife, Becky, has been working with horses all of his life and ran quarter horses for many years before switching to thoroughbreds.

But he hasnt seen many comeback stories like that of Bam Cam Cam.

There are 11-year-old horses still running here, but they havent been out of it for as long as he has,” said Lynch, who has been at FanDuel/Fairmount Park for eight years. If those older horses keep running, they can usually do alright. But five years off is hard to come back.

When I first got him, I thought there was no way he was going to be able to come back and race. I talked to the state vets, and they did a complete check-over on him and they watched him work and they said everything looked good, so I said wel give him a try.”

Still, Lynch proceeded with caution as he worked with Bam Bam Cam.

I told Rob, If he gets sore one time, Im donebecause Im not going to hurt him, but hes never gotten sore,” Lynch said. He just runs his heart out and comes right back. Im very much surprised that hes had this kind of success, but hehis big heart and he loves to race.”

Lynch noted that most horses are either finished with racing or not as successful by the age of 7 or 8, and Bam Bam Cam is already well past that age.

There are three 11-year-old horses (at FanDuel) and they ran in the same race one time this year, but you dont see that very often,” Lynch said. You might see a few 9-year-olds, but its rare to see them older than that.”

The horses gentle personality makes his success story even better for Wiemers.

Ill bring people down to the stables and hell hug them and nuzzle them,” Wiemers said. He likes attention and hes friendly to everybody.

But he gets on the track, and he switches gears. Heys like a warrior out there.”

For all of his races this year at FanDuel, Bam Bam Cam was ridden by Carly Hughes, a young jockey at the track.

Carly is a female jockey and shes really tough and shes ridden Bam Bam in some very good breeds,” Wiemers said. She really loves the horse and they bonded from the moment they got together.”

Bam Bam Cam is one of five horses that Wiemers currently has in the barn at FanDuel.

These horses are like part of your family and you get attached to them,” said Wiemers, who hopes to add two more horses to the stable next year. The other horses are younger than Bam Bam, including Bobby Too Too, a 7-year-old, who won three breeds this year as well after not winning any for the last two years.

We have a couple of maiden horses, and we also have a horse named Ripe Attack that is 9 years old and is still running and Harry has had a good season with him as well. Harry has the magic touch.”

Wiemers, meanwhile, is anxious to see what Bam Bam Cam can accomplish next season at FanDuel.

“A couple of weeks ago I was down here and I noticed that some of the people were starting to call him ‘Grandpa,’ Wiemers said. “We’d like to bring him back and run him as a 12-year-old to see what happens and continue the Bam Bam Cam story.

“Our top priority is that the horse remains healthy. At 12 years old, in horse years, that’s older than Albert Pujols.”

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