Hoerdt, Campbell Discuss Returns To Action

Moosette and Brandon Campbell defeat Century Mach and Kelly Hoerdt
Published: February 18, 2024 01:10 pm EST

When the 2023 season of harness racing concluded at Fraser Downs, perennial standouts Brandon Campbell and Kelly Hoerdt finished atop the leaderboards for drivers and trainers at the B.C. oval. But when racing returned to Fraser Downs earlier this month, neither Campbell nor Hoerdt were listed on the overnight sheets.

Trot Insider has learned that the return of one individual is imminent. The other will be taking a bit more time before returning to competition.

Kelly Hoerdt will be the first on the scene. He told Trot Insider that he was keeping an eye on the first weeks of action at the B.C. oval to ensure the track condition — historically inconsistent this time of year due to the fluctuating temperatures — was well received. 

"I’m on my way there [this] week," said the veteran horseman, who notched his sixth million-dollar season as a trainer in 2023. "The track surface looks like it’s set up well now."

The 2023 dash title winner at Fraser Downs with 85 training wins, Hoerdt heads west with seven pacers, including top class contenders In High Cotton and Armycaptin Hanover who "both like it there," according to the accomplished horseman. His Alberta barn has another 25 horses, with many of those gearing up for the return to live harness racing at Century Downs in March. Hoerdt currently sports 2,887 wins as a driver with more than $19 million in earnings on the driving side with 2,462 training tallies and nearly $19 million in purses.

Speaking of March, that's when Brandon Campbell will be back in the bike at Fraser Downs. The track's top reinsman for the past four seasons, Campbell told Trot Insider he wanted to set a slower pace to start the season and enjoy more time at home with his family. 

"I’m taking a little bit of a slow down this year; all the flights and then driving back and forth between Calgary and Edmonton finally caught up with me," said Campbell. "I’m spending some time with my daughters and focusing on my young horses. I’ll likely be out to B.C. for the stakes."

So while there's less time in the air, on the road and on the racetrack right now, that's not to say that Campbell is sitting idle. Coming off his career-best season as a driver with 293 wins and $2,239,664 in purses, Campbell's focus is the training side of the equation at the moment. His stable also had its best year to date in 2023 with personal bests in wins (92) and purses ($949,619) to bring his career totals to 2,686 driving wins with $17.6 million in earnings along side 815 training wins and $5.3 million in purses.

"We're in training mode again trying to have some of the racehorses ready for the 16th [of March, opening day at Century Downs].  And then we'll bring the rest of them and the three-year-olds to the track once they show me they are ready. 

"We also have seven two-year-olds on the go for a total of 29 in the barn right now, plus we also have five of our six broodmares getting ready to foal out this spring."

(Standardbred Canada)

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