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Hambletonian Pressure Mounting

Published: July 29, 2019 4:54 pm ET

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Stress is part of the game when you are the trainer of a Hambletonian-bound trotter. The expectations also get amplified when you have what many consider to be the top three ‘Hambo’ contenders. Even though it is hard to imagine that the tension could be ratcheted any tighter, it has been.

John Campbell, the legendary reinsman that is now the president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, knows a little something about what it takes to win trotting’s Holy Grail. He managed to turn the trick no less than six times during his career. Campbell also knows high-end trotting talent when he sees it, and he likes what he sees when it comes to Greenshoe.

Greenshoe, who is part of a top three-year-old trotting trio from the stable of Marcus Melander, has impressed many thus far in his nine-race career. The Father Patrick colt has been ranked at the top of the ‘Road to the Hambletonian’ chart in each of its 11 installments this year. Greenshoe last raced in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands Racetrack on July 13, where he powered away from his foes with a dazzling 1:50.1 performance for driver Brian Sears. To view a replay of the race, click here.

Campbell discussed Greenshoe and his two top stablemates (Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S) during an interview with CBS New York. During the discussion, Campbell offered his opinion in regard to Greenshoe, which has set the bar very high.

“It’s kind of a unique situation, although not unparalleled. I think the three top contenders are all from the same stable,” Campbell said about Greenshoe, Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S, all of whom hail from Melander’s operation.

“Marcus Melander, a really good young trainer from Sweden, has a horse called Greenshoe, who has just tremendous ability,” said Campbell, who added, “and I think maybe more natural talent than any trotter that I’ve ever seen to this point.”

The praise that Campbell has showered on Greenshoe is surely an honour for the horse, his ownership, and Melander himself. If nothing else, Campbell’s lofty opinion of Greenshoe will raise expectations for the colt when he heads behind the starting gate for Saturday’s festivities at ‘The Mecca of Harness Racing’ in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The last thing that Campbell wanted to do was look past Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi S, who are also top prospects to drink from the trophy when all is said and done Saturday at the Meadowlands.

“He [has] the two-year-old champion [from 2018, Gimpanzee], who is undefeated and hasn’t lost a race this year, and I think he might be [Melander’s] second-best horse going into the Hambletonian,” said Campbell.

“And then he’s got another one, named Green Manalishi, who is a very good horse in his own right. So, he’s got three of the main contenders in there, so there’s a lot of pressure on Marcus.”

The entries, post positions and morning line odds for the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will be revealed during a live post position draw on Tuesday (July 30) beginning at 2:00 p.m. The event will be streamed exclusively on the Meadowlands Racetrack Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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