04/30/2015 12:26PM

Harness: Campbell with a full dance card on Saturday

Derick Giwner
John Campbell will drive Melady's Monet in the ninth race at The Meadows on Saturday.

Driver John Campbell has a busy schedule on Saturday. The all-time leading money-winning driver in history will be at The Meadows driving top trotter (and others) Melady’s Monet in the afternoon before flying back to New Jersey for a few assignments at night.

At 60, Campbell still has the fire and desire to win races and stakes season brings those traits to the forefront.

“Every driver wants the opportunity to drive good horses. I never get tired of it,” said Campbell.

His best opportunity to win on Saturday comes in the $62,100 Meadows Maturity with Melady’s Monet. The 6-year-old gelded trotter has won five of eight races in 2015 while dominating the Open trotting ranks at the Meadowlands. That is with the exception of his last start where he came to a walk and finished 55 lengths behind the winner.

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According to Campbell, Melady’s Monet had a couple of issues that night including a-fib and tying up. As is often the case with both, he was ready to go just eight days later and has posted back-to-back strong qualifiers in 1:53 3/5 and 1:54 4/5.

“He was excellent in both of his qualifiers and right back to himself,” said Campbell, who will guide the Kevin McDermott trainee from post four as the 5-2 morning line favorite in the ninth race on a Meadows card that kicks off at 11:25 a.m.

Melady’s Monet will face New York Sire Stakes champion Gural Hanover (post 1) and Indiana champ Rose Run Parker (post 2) among his seven rivals. Both come in with questions, as Gural Hanover is making his first start of the year while Rose Run Parker broke in his last start.

Campbell, who has driven some of the best trotters in history, sees enough in Melady’s Monet to think he can at least compete with the top older trotters when stakes season hits high gear this summer.

“He has to keep his form, which is sometimes tough to do from the winter to the summer,” said Campbell. “He won’t dominate against the best, but I think he can be competitive.”

Three $61,072 divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacing fillies are also on the card, with Campbell driving in a pair.

Deli Beach (race 8, post 6) is making her second start of the year after a somewhat easy 2015 debut mile at the Meadowlands where she dealt with some traffic issues.”It was just her first start, but she had a lot of pace at the end of the mile,” said Campbell.

Campbell will jump in the bike for the first time behind Arielle Lynn (race 3, post 1). Also a Kevin McDermott trainee, the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere has won twice in three starts this year.

Potential divisional leader Southwind Roulette highlights the remaining division. The Ron Burke-trained lass earned over $300,000 in 2014 and makes her first start of the year off a pair of strong qualifiers.

Over at the Meadowlands in nighttime action, Campbell will steer Doo Wop Hanover in the Open and longshots Gratian Hanover and El Bloombito in stakes action.

Doo Wop Hanover is coming off a sharp uncovered victory in 1:49 4/5 against a similar group last week at the Meadowlands. The 4-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover disappointed to some extent despite earning $257,169 in his sophomore campaign. But the arrow is now pointing up once again for the Steve Elliott charge.

“He’s got a chance,” said Campbell on Doo Wop Hanover’s odds of making some noise against the top older pacers in 2015. “He has the physique for it. He is strong and good-gaited. The potential is there for him to be in that class.”

Doo Wop Hanover will start from post four in a seven-horse $25,000 4- and 5-year-old Open, race nine on the card.

In the sixth race, the $47,124 John Simpson Memorial, Campbell will have his work cut out for him with Gratian Hanover against the undefeated Wiggle It Jiggleit. “He’s a green horse,” said Campbell. “I think in four to six weeks he will be a better horse.”

Wiggle It Jiggleit returns from a near two month break for trainer Clyde Francis. The George Teague, Jr.-owned 3-year-old gelding last competed in the Gilmour series at the Meadowlands and has won each of his six career races. Montrell Teague will drive on Saturday.

Campbell is also in the $54,200 Whata Baron final with Bloombito from post nine. “He is a one-dimensional horse,” said Campbell. “He has a serious brush but I wish he would have drawn better.”

Bettorever (post 2) and Rediscovery (post 6), who finished one-two ahead of El Bloombito in last week’s second round of the series, are the likely favorites.

As part of his busy weekend, Campbell will also be qualifying Hambletonian hopeful Muscle Diamond on Friday morning at the Meadowlands. The earner of $301,994 as a rookie trotter, Muscle Diamond was an even fifth in his first morning workout the previous week.

“I was very happy with him and he did everything easily,” said Campbell, who admitted he (along with trainer Brett Bittle) is taking a conservative approach. “He’s more mature physically and mentally than last year, but we are a long way from August.”

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