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A Class of His Own

The View

If you were to drive in one harness race a day for your entire life, from the evening you were born to the last breath of your life, you’d need to live to be 168 years old to race in the 61,385 races that John Campbell has driven in.

If you were to put $5 into a jar every minute of every hour of every day for the span of your lifetime, it would take more than 114 years to save the amount of purse money ($303 million) that John Campbell’s horses have earned.

And for Wayne Gretzky to have scored as many goals as John Campbell has wins, Gretzky (with his 894 career goals) would have had to live 12 additional lifetimes to reach Campbell’s 11,054 victories.

There is excellence. There are superstars. And then there is John Campbell.

The man not only has earned more money than any driver in history, the margin between him and second place driver, David Miller, is more than $85 million. To put that into perspective, Campbell’s MARGIN between first and second comes close to the TOTAL earnings of the Professional Golfers’ Association’s all-time career money winning leader, Tiger Woods ($110 million), and tennis’ all-time money leader, Novak Djokovic ($108 million).

This month, as Canada celebrates its 250th anniversary of horse racing (on July 1), the most accomplished Canadian-born racing participant of all time, will drive in his last race. And in appropriate John Campbell fashion, he will return home to Clinton Racetrack, just 45 minutes from his birthplace in Ailsa Craig, Ontario, to compete in Legends Day, on July 30.

Amazingly, at age 62, Campbell is driving as well as ever. His current 2017 driver rating is the highest it has been since 2002, and he continues to put in full nights at the track with several top stakes horses.

His move to head up the Hambletonian Society, starting in July, will sadly take him from our tracks, but not away from our industry.

If you can make it out to Legends Day to shake John Campbell’s hand, and watch him on the track for the final time, I’d encourage you to make the trip. If not, you might want to pull up a YouTube video and re-live one of his countless legendary drives.

Records are meant to be broken, and new stars will emerge. But in our lifetime, John Campbell is in a class of his own. Enjoy it while you still can!

Darryl Kaplan

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