Elora, ON --- Monday afternoon (Aug. 4) at Grand River Raceway, John Campbell will attempt to scratch one more stakes race off the very short list of ones he’s never won when he goes to post in the 17th edition of the Battle of Waterloo behind Go Daddy Go.
The Ailsa Craig, Ontario native is considered by many to be the greatest driver in harness racing history. His $287 million in earnings is far and away the most by any driver in the sport. He is a Hall of Famer in both Canada and the United States and he is one of only 10 drivers in North America with more than 10,000 career wins.
Yet, the 59-year-old, who has lived and worked in New Jersey since the late-1970s, has never won the Battle of Waterloo. In fact, he had never even been to Grand River Raceway until he drove in the eliminations last week and qualified homebred Go Daddy Go for the C$217,000 Battle of Waterloo for trainer Bob McIntosh, a man who shares Campbell’s distinction of being a Hall of Famer on both sides of the border.
“Bob McIntosh called me about Go Daddy Go. I raced him in a Sires Stakes at Mohawk and he raced very well. He wanted to know if I would come up and try him in (the Battle of Waterloo) and I said, ‘Sure.’ We’re not that busy through the week in New Jersey and he’s a nice colt,” Campbell said.
Last Monday, before driving Go Daddy Go (Ponder-Sanfrancine) to a second-place finish in the first of two Battle of Waterloo eliminations -- and also qualifying filly Capela for the C$138,000 final of the Battle of the Belles -- Campbell took a tour of Grand River and answered questions submitted by fans via social media. Asked what race he’d most like to win that he hasn’t, yet, added to his long resume, Campbell told winner’s circle interviewer Greg Blanchard, “right now my focus is on the Battle of Waterloo. I haven’t won that and I want to next week.”
Go Daddy Go finished behind Sporting The Look in the first of two Battle of Waterloo eliminations. Sporting The Look was driven to victory by three-time Battle of Waterloo champ Jody Jamieson for his father, Hall of Fame trainer Carl Jamieson, who has won the Battle of Waterloo a record five times. Jody also won the other Battle of Waterloo elimination with a horse named Sportskeeper the same day his wife, Stephanie, gave birth to their daughter, Siara June Jamieson.
“We just barely made it to the hospital for her to come out, but it was all good in the end,” Jamieson said. “It was a trying morning, but she’s here, she’s healthy and I got a text today saying I was a prolific sire. I’m not really sure how to take that, actually.”
Speaking of prolific sires, Sporting The Look and Sportskeeper are both sons of red-hot sire Sportswriter, who also fathered two of the three winners of the eliminations for the Battle of the Belles. In all, 10 of the 18 finalists for the two stakes are sons or daughters of Sportswriter -- with five Sportswriters in each race.
Casie Coleman owns and trained Sportswriter. Monday, she will send out four Battle of Waterloo finalists and two fillies for the Battle of the Belles. Sportswriter sired all but one.
“Right now it’s unreal how every one of them are just like their old man,” Coleman said. “I’ve trained a lot of babies and some of them have similarities of the stallions, but not every similarity. I’ve got nine Sportswriters and every one of them has a great attitude, great gait, great temperament. They want to win, they don’t like being beat. It’s just unreal.”
The Battle of Waterloo and the Battle of the Belles are all part of Grand River Raceway’s annual Industry Day Celebration that gets underway on the Civic Holiday Monday with a 1:30 p.m. post time.
The 12-race, C$655,000 card will also feature a Racing Under Saddle event and a wide variety of family-friendly activities, including:
Parking and admission are free.
For more information, visit www.IndustryDayCelebration.com.
To hear our conversation with John Campbell, Jody Jamieson and Casie Coleman check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway.