Day At The Track

Retirement? - No way says John Campbell

08:20 AM 05 Feb 2013 NZDT
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John Campbell Driving legend and Hall-of-Famer John Campbell with Granddaughter Emma John Campbell Mach Three and John Campbell
John Campbell
Driving legend and Hall-of-Famer - John Campbell giving a keynote speech at the Conference.
USTA photo
John Campbell with Granddaughter Emma
Photo by Michael Lisa - Lisa Photo, Inc.
John Campbell - Seen here with his Family
Mach Three and John Campbell
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The man who has earned more harness racing purses than any other reinsman - John Campbell - says at 57 he's still enjoying the sport that made him famous and has no intentions of retiring.

“It’s what I do best and even though I don’t get in the bike as much as I used to I still expect to drive about the same number (809) of horses as last year,” Campbell told Harnesslink.

At his peak Campbell was driving between 2,000 and 2,500 horses a year, but these days he said he preferred to drive at his home track – the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

“I don’t travel around like I used to. In fact the only time I get away from the Meadowlands is to drive in stakes races.

“The Meadowlands doesn’t have the amount of racing it used to have but in saying that I’m really pleased with what is happening there. Already this year the betting handle is well up – and to me that’s vital, because without gamblers the sport has nothing,” said Campbell.

Campbell won 73 races and $3.8 million in purses last year. Wins-wise his best year came in 1990 when he reined home 543 winners. Stakes-wise his best season was in 2002 when he banked $13.2 million.

A legend of the sport Campbell has won 10,530 races from 57,416 starts. His UDR is a healthy 0.303.

No one can match his career earnings of $284,507,490.

Campbell never won a big stakes race last year but placed in the North America Cup, the Metro and was on the board in a couple of races on Breeders Crown day.

“Even though I didn’t win a big race I had a good year. More than $3 million in purses is fine by me. I have high hopes of winning a big stakes race this year with Odds On Equuleus (1:50),” said Campbell.

The Robin Schadt (Crete, Illinois) trained Art Major colt won five of his nine starts and placed in three others last year for $413,665.

“I think he will develop into a really nice 3-year-old. He ran a nice second in the million dollar Metro and won well last start (October) in a big race at the Red Mile.

“He’s my brightest hope so far this year but it’s early days yet and the babies are still to surface,” he said.

Campbell said injuries over the years had also slowed him down a tad but there was no way he even slightly entertained the thought of retiring.

“Harness racing has been good to me. Sure age comes into a bit but I still love driving at the elite level and I get a thrill of finding out what my next great horse will be,” the River Vale (New Jersey) resident said.

“I think I have still got something to offer,” he added.

Campbell said he was delighted with the number of talented drivers coming through the US and Canadian ranks.

“The industry is rich in young talent and that’s not going to be a problem. What we have to continue to focus on is getting more and more bettors involved in our sport.”

When asked to comment on the state of harness racing in his home province of Ontario Campbell replied:

“It’s very disturbing and troubling. It has all happened so quickly. The Government has turned on the whole industry and the entire province and satellite areas have been affected.

“This is not a good look. I only hope the Government sees sense and realises the value of racing to the economy.”

He said he had no intentions of retiring to Canada when he gave up his career.

“I’ve been in New Jersey since 1978 and we raised our three daughters here, so this is home now. My parents and sister still live in Ontario and I let to get back there to visit them,” Campbell said.

by Duane RANGER (editor)

Here’s more about Campbell thanks to the United States Trotting Association’s Fanguide:

Campbell led all North American drivers in earnings 16 times in his career. Although Campbell has driven many world champions in his career, his accomplishments behind a trio of trotters are his most noteworthy. The colts Mack Lobell and Pine Chip and the filly Peace Corps are among the best of all time in their respective sex and gait.

Top horse for Campbell in 2009-10 was the trotting colt Lucky Chucky, a two-time Dan Patch Award winner.

They won the Valley Victory and Matron Stakes as a freshman in ’09 and the Canadian Trotting Classic and Colonial in 2010.

Campbell had made a reputation for himself at the Detroit area tracks and at Windsor when the Meadowlands opened during the mid 1970s, luring Windsor racing secretary Joe DeFrank east.

DeFrank remembered the talented Campbell and urged him to come to the Jersey miler, and now Campbell is the winningest driver in the history of the track.


Son of Jack, a respected horseman in the western Ontario region...His brother, Jim, is a respected trainer who John partnered with in 1995 to win the Hambletonian with Tagliabue.

He shares his middle name with his grandfather, also a top horseman.

John supports numerous charitable organizations, and his wife, Paula, is a founder of the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.

In 2000 he was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his commitment to harness racing by the Governor General of Canada.

Campbell has three daughters and two grandchildren.

His favorite food is an artichoke and chicken dish made by his wife, and turkey and dressing.

His first car was a 1972 Olds Cutlass. His favorite hobby is golf.

His favorite pet was Argyel Chester, a horse born on his 11th birthday and owned in partnership with his grandmother who went on to be an invitational pacer in Ontario.

People would be surprised to know how good Campbell is with kids and dogs…His favorite TV show is “Entourage”.

He was 35 when elected to the Hall of Fame, the youngest person so honored.

His most important life moments were the births of his children and his wedding to Paula.

Born: April 8, 1955.

Birthplace: London, Ontario.

Height: 5 foot 7.

Colors: White – cardinal red – light blue.

Campbell’s major wins:

ADIOS (84) Andrel (87) Run The Table (92) Direct Flight (93) Miles Mccool (94) Cam’s Card Shark (95) David’s Pass (02) Million Dollar Cam (03) Armbro Animate


ART ROONEY PACE (90) Jake And Elwood (93) Life Sign (94) Cam’s Card Shark (99) Bolero Master

BREEDERS CROWN (2cp) (85) Robust Hanover (90) Artsplace (01) Western Shooter

BREEDERS CROWN (2ct) (85) Express Ride (86) Mack Lobell (93) Wesgate Crown (02) Broadway Hall

BREEDERS CROWN (2fp) (84) Amneris (88) Central Park West (90) Miss Easy (91) Hazleton Kay (92) Immortality (95) Paige Nicole Q

BREEDERS CROWN (2ft) (88) Peace Corps (91) Armbro Keepsake (04) Flirtin Miss (07) Snow White (08) Honorable Daughter

BREEDERS CROWN (3cp) (93) Life Sign (01) Real Desire (02) Art Major

BREEDERS CROWN (3ct) (85) Prakas (87) Mack Lobell (93) Pine Chip (98) Muscles Yankee

BREEDERS CROWN (3fp) (89) Cheery Hello (91) Miss Easy (92) So Fresh (93) Immortality

BREEDERS CROWN (3ft) (89) Peace Corps (01) Syrinx Hanover

BREEDERS CROWN (hp) (92) Artsplace (02) Real Desire (03) Art Major

BREEDERS CROWN (ht) (85) Sandy Bowl (88) Mack Lobell (89) Delray Lobell (94) Pine Chip (97) Wesgate Crown (08) Corleone Kosmos

BREEDERS CROWN (mp) (87) Follow My Star (96) She’s A Great Lady (97) Extreme Velocity (98) Jays Table


CANE PACE (85) Chairmanoftheboard (89) Dancing Master (90) Jake And Elwood (02) Art Major (04) Western Terror

CLASSIC SERIES (aph) (09) Bettor Sweet

CLASSIC SERIES (ath) (09) Corleone Kosmos

COLONIAL (10) Lucky Chucky

DELVIN MILLER MEMORIAL (07) Pampered Princess (08) Snow White

ELITLOPP (88) Mack Lobell

GOLDSMITH MAID (07) Snow White (08) Up Front Annika

GOVERNOR'S CUP FINAL (89) In The Pocket (90) Artsplace (92) Life Sign (93) Magical Mike (01) Western Shooter (02) Allamerican Native

HAMBLETONIAN (87) Mack Lobell (88) Armbro Goal (90) Harmonious (95) Tagliabue (98) Muscles Yankee (06) Glidemaster

HAMBLETONIAN OAKS (90) Happy Diamonds (99) Oolong (01) Syrinx Hanover

HOOSIER CUP (01) Real Desire (02) Art Major

KENTUCKY FUTURITY (89) Peace Corps (92) Armbro Keepsake (93) Pine Chip (94) Bullville Victory (01) Chasing Tail (06) Glidemaster

LITTLE BROWN JUG (82) Merger (93) Life Sign (95) Nick’s Fantasy

MAPLE LEAF TROT (83) Bridger (87) Franconia (90) Florida Jewel

MEADOWLANDS PACE (82) Hilarion (89) Dexter Nukes (94) Cam’s Card Shark (95) David’s Pass (99) The Panderosa (01) Real Desire (02) Mach Three

MERRIE ANNABELLE (84) Davidia Hanover (85) Britelite Lobell (97) Feel The Motion (00) Spellbound Hanover (06) Gerri’s Joy (08) Honorable Daughter (10) Thatsnotmyname

MESSENGER (86) Amity Chef (87) Redskin (90) Jake And Elwood (94) Cam’s Card Shark (95) David’s Pass (98) Fit For Life (00) Ain’t No Stopn Him (04) Metropolitan

METRO FINAL (90) Artsplace (96) Gothic Dream (99) The Firepan (00) Pro Bono Best

MISTLETOE SHALEE (81) JEF’s Eternity (88) Conquered Quest (91) Miss Easy (95) She’s A Great Lady (00) Art’s Virtue

NAT RAY (88) Mack Lobell (91) Florida Jewel (94) Pine Chip (07) Corleone Kosmos (10) Slave Dream

NORTH AMERICA CUP (91) Precious Bunny (94) Cam’s Card Shark (95) David’s Pass (96) Arizona Jack (97) Gothic Dream (99) The Panderosa

PETER HAUGHTON MEM. (89) Backstreet Guy (93) Wesgate Crown (94) Donerail (95) Dancer’s Victory

SWEETHEART (84) Armbro Dazzler (85) Follow My Star (86) Nadia Lobell (87) So Cozy (90) Miss Easy (92) Immortality (93) Freedoms Friend (98) Mattaroni (03) So Artsi

TATTERSALLS PACE (81) Armbro Wolf (86) Tyler’s Mark (87) Cue Light (95) Nick’s Fantasy (95) Stand Forever (99) Grinfromeartoear (02) Art Major

THREE DIAMONDS (90) Miss Easy (92) Immortality (93) Freedoms Friend (94) Glendale Kim (99) Art’s Virtue (07) A And G’sconfusion

VALLEY VICTORY (09) Lucky Chucky (91) Royal Strength (94) Donerail (00) Chasing Tail (03) Beardmore (04) Diesel Don

WOODROW WILSON (88) Kassa Branca (93) Magical Mike (94) Dontgetinmyway (97) Real Artist (01) Allamerican Ingot

WORLD TROTTING DERBY (89) Peace Corps (93) Pine Chip

YONKERS TROT (87) Mack Lobell (98) Muscles Yankee

John Campbell - Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Induction Video

It's Mack Lobell & He's Pouring It On!!!

John Campbell in Horrific Accident


By Duane RANGER (editor)

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