08/03/2013 5:58PM

Meadowlands: Campbell wins U.S. Pacing Championship with Thinking Out Loud, goes out a winner

USTA photo

Thinking Out Loud and driver John Campbell took advantage of a trip behind favorite Warrawee Needy and powered through the stretch to win Saturday’s $213,650 U.S. Pacing Championship for older male pacers in a career-best 1:47 2/5.

Sent off at odds of 23-1, Thinking Out Loud won for the first time in five starts this year for trainer Bob McIntosh, who owns the 4-year-old with CSX Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings. He was coming off a fifth-place finish in his U.S. Pacing Championship elimination, although he was beaten by only 2-1/2 lengths.

“He raced really well (in the elim), he just could chase those other horses down, but he paced home in 26-and-a-piece,” Campbell said. “I told Bob that I thought he’d get better with racing. He’s grown a lot and filled out a lot and I think he’s going to get in better race shape as we go along.”

Golden Receiver led the U.S. Pacing Championship field to the first quarter in :26 2/5 before Sweet Lou brushed to the front as the group hit the half in :53 4/5. Sweet Lou remained on top on the final turn, but faced pressure to his outside from Warrawee Needy, who grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch.

Thinking Out Loud followed Warrawee Needy’s cover from fourth place and came home with a :26 3/5 final quarter to win by 1-3/4 lengths over Bolt The Duer, who rallied from fifth. Golden Receiver finished third. Thinking Out Loud paid $49 to win.

“It worked out good,” Campbell said. “I got to follow Warrawee Needy right to the Promised Land. He took us right into the stretch and when I called on (Thinking Out Loud) he paced right to the wire very strong.”

The race was part of the TVG Free For All Championship Series. Sweet Lou entered the race as the points leader, followed by Fred And Ginger and Golden Receiver.

It fitting fashion, Campbell would go on to win the final race before the current grandstand with Dapper Dude in 1:49 2/5.

Total handle for the 15-race card was $6,900,316 (not including foreign pools). Total attendance was 24,210.

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com

-Portions of this release were edited