Day At The Track

Campbell ready to defend title

08:18 AM 31 Dec 2019 NZDT
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Marc Campbell, harness racing
Marc Campbell
Kyle Burton photo
CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - The 2019 racing season comes to a close Tuesday evening at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park and the top driver of the decade says he can't wait to get started on another driving title.

The 13-dash New Year's Eve program is scheduled for a 6:30 P.M. first race post time. Environment Canada has indicated the possibility of impending weather with officials at Red Shores making an announcement at 10 A.M. Tuesday morning on the status of the program.

Winsloe driver Marc Campbell is poised to win his 10th straight dash title as he leads all drivers at the Capital oval with 136 trips to the winner's circle, ahead of second place Gilles Barrieau at 107 wins. The 35-year-old Vernon River native finds it hard to believe he was never heeded as top driver, with only Jason Hughes tying him in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

"It seemed to go by quick," the driver said. "Probably because of all of the ups and downs that come along with horse racing. I couldn't tell you the amount of weddings I was supposed to be in that I got there late or had to leave early because of horse racing."

"Thankfully my friend and family still like me," Campbell jokes.

Along with two O'Brien Award for Horsemanship and a pair of Gold Cup and Saucer victories, Campbell has made 2,319 trips to the winner's circle in his career, with over $5.2 million in purse earnings.

"I feel like I'm just getting started. I'm driving way better now than I ever have, way differently than I ever have."

The Tuesday program will also see the retirement of Dreamfair Van Dam, a longtime mainstay in the Campbell stable that recently returned back to P.E.I. from a lease arrangement in Nova Scotia. The 14-year-old pacer faces mandatory retirement before he turns 15, but will go out a winner in his final two races.

"I go down in the basement in my house and the kids are watching Youtube of Gold Cup and Saucers or lord knows what," The father of four said. "Poor Dreamfair Van Dam is tired out, the kids have raced him 20 times a day the past week in the basement. The Youtube is getting worn out. But that is what it is all about, it's not all about money."

One thing Campbell cannot praise enough is the racing product that Red Shores puts on at Charlottetown and Summerside.

"The product here is second to none. I get to go to work at a nice place, nice track, nice facility. People think the racing isn't tough here but it's tough. Go buy a horse for $15,000 and you bring it down here and you could get throttled. There are a lot of great horse people here and it is tough."

For more information on Tuesday's program go to Redshores.ca.

By Nicholas Oakes, for Red Shores

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