Hall of Fame driver John Campbell has been elected president and chief executive officer of the Hambletonian Society.
The board of governors announced on Thursday that Campbell was elected in a unanimous vote of its directors this past weekend at its winter meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.
Campbell, harness racing’s all-time leading money winner among drivers, will replace Tom Charters, effective July 1. The 61-year-old Canadian will fulfill his driving commitments through June.
A Hambletonian Society director since 1992, Campbell said he is looking forward to the new challenge, and he thanked Charters for his tireless work to better harness racing.
”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,” Campbell said. ”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 and attractive.”
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 Stakes, one of 37 races it currently owns, and one of the 131 stakes it oversees.
No active driver or jockey has amassed more purse money than 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.
Charters was hired by the Society in 1984 to guide the newly created Breeders Crown championship series. He was appointed president in 1998.