John Campbell elected president of the Hambletonian Society
John Campbell, a Hambletonian Society director since 1992 and harness racing’s leading money-winning driver of all time, was recently elected president and chief executive officer of the Society in a unanimous vote of the board of directors at the winter board meeting held March 12 in Boca Raton, Fla.
Campbell and Snow White
Campbell and Mack Lobell wins Elitloppet 1988.
He replaces current president
Tom Charters, effective July 1, 2017.
Campbell will fulfill his driving commitments through June
of this year.
“I want to thank the Hambletonian Society for their support
and confidence in this new and exciting opportunity,” said
Campbell. “It is a challenge that I am looking forward to.
“I would also like to thank and commend Tom Charters for all
his years of service. I have worked with Tom on various
projects over the years and have tremendous respect for his
opinion and passion for harness racing. I have sought his
advice many times over the years and will continue to do so
“He has worked tirelessly for the betterment of our sport,
many times in the background, not receiving the credit that
was his due,” Campbell emphasized.
“Going forward, I will be reaching out to all facets of our
industry, encouraging them to make decisions that are in the
best interest of our sport. We have our issues and problems,
no question, but I believe very strongly that from a betting
and entertainment point of view our sport can be relevant
Tom Charters, the current president and CEO of the
Hambletonian Society, had informed the board last August of
his intent to cut back on his schedule. He will step down as
president, a position he has held since 1998. He will remain
on staff through the Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park in
October and on the Society board as a director.
The Hambletonian Society is a not-for-profit organization
which supports and encourages the breeding of Standardbred
horses by sponsoring and administering stakes and other
special events in harness racing. The Society was founded in
1924 to organize the Hambletonian Stake, one of 37 races it
currently owns, and one of the 131 stakes events it oversees.
These races are some of the richest and most prestigious
racing events across North America, held at 14 different
racetracks, involving the processing of more than 51,700
individual payments totaling $11.6 million and responsible
for the disbursement of more than $14.8 million in purses.
No active driver or jockey has amassed more purse money than
John Campbell. His career earnings top $299 million from
more than 10,600 victories in his four decades of driving.
He has led all North American drivers in earnings 16 times
and has won every major race in the sport -- including a
record six Hambletonians -- at least once.
His remarkable career on the racetrack saw him elected to
the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1990 at age 35, the
youngest person so honored and the Canadian Horse Racing
Hall of Fame in 1987. He was voted Stanley F.
Bergstein-Proximity Achievement Award Winner in 2012; voted
U.S. Harness Writers Driver of the Year in 2006 and W. R.
Haughton Good Guy in 2002; the Harness Horse Youth
Foundation Service To Youth honoree in 2003; awarded a
Meritorious Service Medal for his commitment to harness
racing by the Governor General of Canada in 2000; and is
president of the Grand Circuit and a director of the Little
Brown Jug Society.
Charters was originally hired by the Society in 1984 to
guide the newly created Breeders Crown championship series.
“I am proud of what the Society has accomplished over the
last three decades, especially in sponsoring the two
preeminent events in harness racing, the $1 million
Hambletonian and the $6 million Breeders Crown,” said
“I believe this is the perfect opportunity for the Society.
John’s accomplishments on the race track are beyond compare
and his knowledge and broad grasp of the traditions of the
sport and the current day challenges of the industry will be
of enormous benefit to the Society.
“I look forward to continuing to work with John, as he has
provided valuable counsel in past matters, and his
leadership qualities and the industry-wide respect he
commands makes him a unique choice for the Society.
“The timing is right,” concluded Charters.
by Moira Fanning, publicity director, the Hambletonian Society