One driver heads to Saturday’s $1 million Yonkers International Trot with his name already etched among previous winners of the race. The driver, of course, is John Campbell.
Campbell won the 1988 International Trot as part of a magical campaign with Mack Lobell. The legendary trotter won 17 of 19 races that season and also counted the prestigious Elitlopp among his victories on his way to a second consecutive Horse of the Year honor.
The International Trot was first contested in 1959 and held through 1995. The event was resurrected last year by Yonkers Raceway President and CEO Tim Rooney. It will be race six on a 13-race card Saturday at Yonkers. First race post time is 1:10 p.m. (EDT), with the International Trot expected to go at 3:20 p.m.
Mack Lobell is one of five horses to win the Elitlopp and International Trot in the same year, with Jamin (1959), Roquepine (1967), Ideal du Gazeau (1982), and Peace Corps (1991).
“It was a thrill to be in it,” Campbell said about the 1988 International Trot. “Mack had already been to the Elitlopp and was having a tremendous 4-year-old year, which is really remarkable for a 4-year-old to do what he did that year against seasoned older horses.
“The International has so much value and panache in Europe,” the Hall of Famer added. “I think we underestimate just how much it means to the people in Europe to be in the International and the horses that have won it in the past.”
This year, Campbell will sit behind Denmark’s Tano Bork in the International Trot. Campbell is harness racing’s all-time leading money-winner with $298.6 million in purses. He has won 23 races worth at least $1 million in his career, the most of any driver in history.
“I got a call that the owners of this horse wanted me to drive him,” Campbell said. “Anytime you get to race for a million dollars, I’m up for that.”
Tano Bork, a 6-year-old gelding who has won six of 13 races this year and 16 of 54 lifetime including the European Championship for 3-year-olds in 2013, will leave from post nine in the 10-horse field.
Post nine is in the second tier, where Tano Bork will follow post No. 1’s Hannelore Hanover to the start. Hannelore Hanover is 4-1 on the morning line, the second choice to 3-1 Resolve, who has post two. Tano Bork, who has earned $339,176 in his career, is 20-1.
“He’s got a really good post; he’s following the two horses to beat in Hannelore Hanover and Resolve,” Campbell said. “As long as he’s good at the gate, he’s going to be forwardly placed, and then after that we’re at the mercy of fractions and traffic. But I’m really happy with our starting point.”
Tano Bork is owned by Stald Tano Bork and trained by Christian Lindhardt. The gelding is a son of 2003 Matron Stakes winner Great Challenger out of the mare Frederikke Bork.
“I got word from the owner that (Tano Bork) trained very well the other day at Yonkers, they were very happy with him, so I think he’s going into the race in good shape,” Campbell said. “He’s a horse that knows how to win; he’s won six races. From what I understand, the mile-and-a-quarter is really his distance; he races well at that.”
Following is the Yonkers International Trot field in post order.
PP–Horse–Driver–Trainer–Line 1–Hannelore Hanover–Yannick Gingras–Ron Burke–4/1 2–Resolve–Ake Svanstedt–Ake Svanstedt–3/1 3–Jonesy–Tuomas Korvenoja–Tuomas Korvenoja–15/1 4–Flanagan Memory–Brian Sears–Rene Dion–6/1 5–Oasis Bi– Erik Adielsson–Stefan Pettersson–5/1 6–Obrigado–Mark MacDonald–Paul Kelley–6/1 7–BBS Sugarlight–Vidar Hop–Fredrik Solberg–6/1 8–On Track Piraten–Orjan Kihlstrom–Hans Stromberg–10/1 9–Tano Bork–John Campbell–Christian Lindhardt–20/1 10–Explosive De Vie–Kevin Oscarsson–Jim Oscarsson–12/1
Tano Bork and Explosive De Vie start in the second tier.