by Rich Fisher
Photo by Enoch Wu
Cameron McCown didn’t take the usual route into the harness racing profession, but was always around animals.
“I did not have racehorses growing up,” McCown said. “I grew up raising and showing livestock. My first contact with racehorses came through family and friends.”
The family includes two cousins who are involved with racing, and they guided the 27-year-old into the business. A resident of Ostrander, Ohio, McCown is part-owner of a few horses, serves as a second trainer for Brian Brown, and is also a driver.
“I’m able to devote a lot of time to driving because racing is my fulltime job,” McCown said. “I would like to train on my own sometime in the future.”
|Winner Pictures photo|
|Cameron McCown won six races in 2015, including this triumph with Big Bad J R at the Hancock County Fair.|
McCown reached his first milestone as a driver this past summer when he got his first win in an Ohio Fair Stakes division on July 22 at the Crawford County Fair in Bucyrus. He drove Count On Anna, trained by Patricia Rothhaar. It was not, as the saying goes, his first rodeo with the 2-year-old filly trotter.
“I qualified her at the Delaware fairgrounds and her trainer/owners (Rothhaar, Chris Easterday, Mike Hassinger) gave me the chance to drive her before Bucyrus, so I was familiar with her,” he said.
McCown drove in his first race at the Putnam County Fair in 2014. In his eight purse starts before the win at Bucyrus, McCown finished second once and third on two occasions.
He drew the two hole with Count On Anna and got away third behind the favorite. At the top of the stretch he made a move for the front and won by a head, but could not get immediate satisfaction because the race was so close.
“When I crossed the finish line I wasn’t sure that I had actually won,” he said. “We had to wait a few minutes for the photo. When they called it I felt happy and relieved.”
Since then McCown has lifted his victory total to six. He has finished in the top three in nearly half of his 66 lifetime starts.
He is quick to thank those who have given him opportunities to drive, including Brian and Jenny Brown and their owners, Rothhaar, Easterday and Hassinger, along with Terry Millhoan and Terry Tackett. Cameron is hoping this is just the beginning.
“I would like to get more fair drives and eventually start driving at pari-mutuel tracks,” he said. “In the future I would like to drive fulltime and train.”