Set to become the president/CEO of the Hambletonian Society on the first of July, Campbell showed he still has plenty of sulky magic left at his command, sending Muscle Diamond right to the front in the $20,000 handicap trotting feature Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, backing off the half, then sprinting home to be a very easy winner over odds-on favorite Melady’s Monet in 1:53.3.
Campbell had the winning son of Muscle Hill in high gear early and quickly made the top, forcing tucks while going to the quarter in 27.1. With no challengers looming, Campbell gave Muscle Diamond a huge breather on the front end in quarter two, hitting the half in 57.4, with Melady’s Monet starting up uncovered. The favorite got to within just over a length of Muscle Diamond on the far turn after a 1:25.4 clocking at the ¾, but in the stretch Muscle Diamond sparkled with a 27.4 kicker, winning by 4 1/2 lengths. Melady’s Monet claimed second, a length to the good of the pocketsitter Crazy About Pat.
Muscle Diamond would fit any definition of impeccably-bred, a Muscle Hill out of millionaire / world champion / divisional champion Windylane Hanover, and his career earnings of $662,899 have been achieved in but 31 starts – if trainer Brett Bittle can find the key to an extended campaign for the fast trotter, who was second in his Breeders Crown at two and then third at three, you’ll hear much more from him and owners Brett and Dan Bittle and the Charles Kellers, III and IV.
The victory was #10,637 of Campbell’s storied career; more importantly, his lifetime earnings are now at $299,366,442, and that number that begins with a “3” looming on the horizon does seem attainable.
The biggest purse race of the night for pacers was an $18,000 “nw 7 races or $70,000” contest, which went to the four-year-old gelding Dash Of Danger, who took a new mark of 1:52 for the hot connections of trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Marc Reynolds. Matt Kakaley rushed up down the backstretch with the sidewheeler, also with top-shelf breeding (a Western Terror half-brother to the $2M+-winning mare Glowing Report), paced on to a big lead late on the final turn, then held off the bold late rush of Shane Adam, who trailed most of the way, by a half-length.