As a 2-year-old, Cam's Card Shark lost more races than he won.
But what a transformation the pacer made over the winter for his Canadian trainer, Bill Robinson.
Since he started competing as a 3-year-old in March, the horse has won eight of 10 starts, earned more than $1 million and will be heavily favored tonight to win the $325,000 Messenger Stakes at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington.
The Messenger, which previously had been contested in September, is the first leg of pacing's triple crown. The other legs are the $400,000 Cane Pace at Yonkers Raceway on Aug. 27 and the $575,000 Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio, on Sept. 22.
Robinson, 47, won the Messenger last year with Riyadh and trains three of the 11 horses in tonight's feature.
In his last Rosecroft appearance on May 14, Cam's Card Shark equaled a stakes record of 1 minute, 50 3/5 seconds for a mile in the William Miller Memorial.
The mark was set last year by another Robinson-trained pacer, Presidential Ball.
Cam's Card Shark is listed at 8-5 odds in the Rosecroft line, followed by Pacific Rocket, another Robinson horse, at 7-2 odds. Robinson's third entry, Expensive Scooter, is 10-1. All three horses have different owners.
Post time for the Messenger card, traditionally the biggest night in Maryland harness racing, is 7:35 p.m.
The Messenger is the 10th race and is set to start at 10:51 p.m.