05/12/2010 12:00AM

Campbell looks to bolster Southern ties


BOSSIER CITY, La. - When jockey Jesse Campbell began searching for a new place to call home during the summer, he did so with an eye on the future. A longtime regular on the Chicago circuit, Campbell eventually settled on Louisiana Downs.

"I just felt it was time to make a change," Campbell said. "Things had gotten a little stale at Arlington and there are some issues with the racing surface, but the primary reason I'm here is to develop relationships with some Louisiana outfits. That should really help when we make the transition to Fair Grounds in the fall."

Campbell has enjoyed some solid seasons in New Orleans in recent years, but last year was not one of them. Two injuries that Campbell sustained on the same day ended his season prematurely.

"November 28," Campbell answered immediately when asked about the date. "I was working a horse for Eric Guillot that morning and he flipped on me, injuring my foot. I knew I was hurt but I was on some live mounts that day so I decided to try and gut it out.

"I think it was the fourth race of the day. I was on another one for Guillot and he went nuts. I got into some concrete and that is how I injured my wrist.

"The hand turned out not as bad as the foot," Campbell said. "The ortho doc I went to said the break in the foot was so bad and in such an unusual place that it would be four months. Another doctor who I had seen previously in Chicago said the same thing, so I am just now getting back to racing fit. They said if I rushed things and rebroke it, it could be a year and surgery."

While he spends most of his time now in Louisiana, Campbell says he still calls the Windy City home.

"My dad, Mike, is there training this summer, but my twin brother is riding at Prairie Meadows so the family is pretty scattered."

* Friday's feature is a second-level optional claimer scheduled for 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf. It marks the return to the grass of Jake Will Gallop, the winner of the $100,000 U.S.A. Stakes at Lone Star Park last summer.

* First post time shifts to 3 p.m. Central for the first Friday twilight card of the season. The twilight experiment for the next four Fridays will be reevaluated in mid-June, according to management.