Campbell Back In The Irons Saturday At Arlington Park

Life has been moving at a quick pace for jockey Jesse Campbell, perhaps a little quicker than he would like.

Just over a week ago his plans for Belmont Stakes weekend would not have consisted of riding at Arlington International Racecourse, where he was notable rider for many years. Sure enough, he’s named aboard three mounts on Saturday afternoon’s program.

Since beginning his riding career back in 1995, Campbell, 40, was a regular rider at Arlington before moving his tack to Woodbine Racetrack in 2011. His last mount at the Jewel of the North took place on December 9, and he has not ridden a race at Arlington since September 2014. At the conclusion of the 2017 Woodbine meet Cambell began working as a barn manager at a private estate owned by Richard Stephenson of Cancer Treatment Center of America in Barrington Hills, Illinois in order to be closer to his wife Allyson and his 4-year-old daughter Madison. But when Campbell got word that he would have to move to Ocala in order to keep his new job, he decided it was time to resume riding and call the Chicagoland oval home once again.

“This literally happened a week ago,” Campbell said. “They told me on Thursday their new plans and on Friday I told them that it wasn’t going to work for me. I called (jockey agent Dennis) Cooper on Friday morning. It’s all getting crammed in here pretty quick.”

A native of Twinsburg, Ohio, Campbell grew up in the Lake Zurich suburb of the Chicago metropolitan area. The son of trainer Mike Campbell and twin brother to fellow jockey Joel Campbell, Jesse was a regular on the Illinois circuit for 14 years, but made a transition to Woodbine in 2011 upon the suggestion of trainer Mark Casse’s son and former assistant Norm.

“He talked to me for years about going to Woodbine until finally I listened,” Campbell said. “I looked into the process of getting up there and it was a blessing for my entire family. I loved it up there and still do love it up there. Quite honestly, I could live there. I found it to be a lot like Chicago. When you have a wife and young daughter though, they want to be here.

Campbell made his transition to Canada worthwhile. His four highest years in earnings were his first four years riding at Woodbine, where he secured a total of 13 graded stakes victories as well as a win in Canada’s crown jewel – the Queen’s Plate – aboard Midnight Aria in 2013.

For the past three years, Allyson Campbell stayed in Chicago at their home in Barrington to tend to her real estate business and raise their daughter Madison. As it would be for any family man, for Jesse it was tough being away from them.

“I was missing my wife and little girl,” Campbell said. “Her job is going extremely well. We did plan this out; there’s a reason why they stayed home. For the business my wife is in it takes years to grow, so we planned this – for her to come home and grow – and she did that. so it’s my time to hold up my end of the bargain.

“We’ve been flipping homes since 2008,” Campbell continued. “We actually have two projects going on right now, but that’s the kind of business that you’ve got to be here to do –  you can’t be away. We wanted to get back into that, which is another reason we chose for her to come home three years ago. She was really doing well and so there is no way I could ask her to leave that to follow me to go to Canada. Years down the road we would be much better served with her business because this (riding) doesn’t last forever.”

Campbell also received encouragement from the horsemen at Woodbine.

“A couple of trainers I got really close to up there said, ‘What’s more important?’ which is rare for horsemen to say,” Campbell said. “They’re all about horses and their business, which I get because it’s how we make a living. They told me, ‘You have a great family, you can’t risk that.’ I miss riding in graded stakes races every single weekend, but I get to go home to my family every night. I can wake up next to my wife and go on a walk after dinner with my daughter. I haven’t been able to do that in years.”

So now, Campbell is ready to make Arlington home again for the summer, but plans following the meet have yet to be determined.

“I just want to stay healthy,” Campbell said. “I have always believed in my abilities and I have always had the mindset that if I stay healthy, I’ll get my piece of the pie. I used to stress so badly about (being) leading rider. The first time I became leading rider, I was like ‘What was I stressing out about?’ You don’t get another check in the mail – it’s just bragging rights until the next meet. I really don’t stress about it now.”

Campbell is named on three mounts on Saturday, June 9: Draw It Now (Race 3, 10-1), Holly Field (Race 4, 3-1), Buck Snort (Race 8, 5-1) and also rides three on Sunday, June 10: Warretta (Race 3), Out of the Woods (Race 6), Chas the Man (Race 8).

The post Campbell Back In The Irons Saturday At Arlington Park appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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