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John Campbell Returns


Published: July 28, 2011 2:14 pm ET

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After having suffered a litany of serious injuries from a May 30 racing accident at Chester Racetrack, 'Mr. Harness Racing' John Campbell returned to the race bike during the Meadowlands Racetrack's Thursday, July 28 qualifying session.

Campbell wanted to use to the session as a testing ground before deciding if he will drive his horse, Live Jazz in the second Hambletonian elimination.

The highly-decorated 56-year-old reinsman --- who suffered a broken right shoulder, right knee, collarbone and cracked ribs on May 30 --- didn't waste any time getting back to work during the session, as he got up behind two-year-old Muscles Yankee filly Friendly Persuader in Race 1. After having made a break off the gate, Campbell rallied the Scott Andrews-trained filly to a fourth-place finish clocked in 2:03.2.

Campbell was right back at it in Race 2, again with a Scott Andrews-trained juvenile trotting filly. Southwind Moni, the distaffer in question, had made her lifetime charted debut in a July 16 Meadowlands qualifier for pilot Brian Sears, where she finished fourth and trotted in 2:01.1. With Campbell at the controls, Southwind Moni sat off the tempo and opted to close out the mile with trot. The duo closed with a 28-second final panel, finished fourth, and were clocked in 2:00.2.

Some say that three is a charm, and the third qualifying race proved to be just that for Campbell. Up behind the Brett Bittle-trained Andover Hall colt Top Billing in Race 3, Campbell sat mid-pack with the freshman until the three-quarters, where he called on his mount. The colt --- who was making his career charted debut --- cruised home with a :29.2 final quarter in which he picked off horses and got up for a neck victory in 2:03.1.

Campbell's next drive was in Race 6, behind the three-year-old trotting filly Ibeza, who was also making her lifetime charted debut. The daughter of Dream Vacation stayed flat in fifth until the third panel, where she broke stride and was further distanced.

Campbell hooked up with another Scott Andrews pupil in Race 7, but instead of a juvenile, it was Pilgrims Chuckie, a four-year-old son of Broadway Hall. Having fired out from Post 4, Campbell and his mount cut all the fractions and led the field into the stretch, where they were overtaken. The pair finished second, beaten two lengths, and were clocked in 1:55.3.

The Ed Hart-trained Pirouette Hanover, the two-year-old Western Ideal filly which was a $135,000 yearling buy, provided Campbell with his second victory of the session. Campbell left from Post 2, was on top before the half, and led the rest of the way. The win time was sharp 1:54.4 and the margin of victory was three-quarters of a length.

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