11/28/2008 12:00AM

Classic Campaign wins in slop

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Classic Campaign, racing on dirt for the first time in four years, handled a sloppy track and came home first as the longest shot in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap at the Fair Grounds.

Brian Hernandez Jr., riding in place of Patrick Valenzuela, guided the Bill Mott-trained Classic Campaign from last to first, taking over in the stretch to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths over the favored Wise River.

The race, originally scheduled for dirt, was reduced to a field of four as three horses scratched when it was moved to the main track.

Classic Campaign, owned by Kinsman Stable, went the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.83, and paid $9.80 to win.

"We didn't know how he would react to the dirt in his face, because he has not run on dirt since he was 2," said assistant trainer Rodolphe Brisset. "And he's always a little funny about going through horses, so I told Brian to make one run."

Hernandez followed the instructions, taking Classic Campaign outside on the first turn, to the inside up the backstretch, then outside again while taking over in the stretch.

"We had to work a little bit today," said Hernandez. "I tucked him behind, then once we tipped him out, I knew we could catch the 1 horse," meaning Wise River.