Although jockey Jesse Campbell
endured a slower-than-usual beginning to his 2011-2012 winter season at
Fair Grounds, he certainly ended it on a high note by capturing last
Grade III Mineshaft Handicap with an upset win aboard Windy Hill Farm’s
Nates Mineshaft for trainer
The 34-year-old reinsman will conclude his
Crescent City season this Saturday, seat wife
Allyson and their two cats in the truck beside him before dawn Sunday and head north, driving straight through to
Chicago while towing the family’s boat behind.
“We’ll spend a few days visiting our families in
Chicago,” said Campbell Friday morning, “but then we’ll head back to
to get ready for the Woodbine meeting. We’re awfully excited to be
going back up there. We’re really looking forward to it. We had a very
good season in
last year even though it was my first time riding up there. I won seven
stakes and four of them were graded. I’m riding for all the right
people up there now, and I think
we’ll really be able to build on that momentum this spring.
“I knew it would be a little slow down here this winter,” said
Campbell, “but I did think we’d do a little better than we did. I did go over and win a stakes at
while we were down here this winter and as for that horse (Nates
Mineshaft) the other day – he ran a huge race. Ever since that first
race he ran down here at Fair Grounds this winter,
I’d told the trainer this is a different horse than when I worked him
three weeks earlier. I can’t say I expected to win the race the other
day, but I knew he’d run well. Then, when he was traveling so easy and
no one was challenging us when we had the lead
going into the first turn, I thought then, ‘This is a good thing for
us.’ I knew my horse was a good horse and that they shouldn’t be letting
us get away that easy.
“It’s funny, but it was merely a coincidence that Ally was out here that day to see the horse win last week,”
said. “She’s been working as a wedding planner this winter and normally
she wouldn’t have a day off on a Saturday. In fact, even when we found
out she did that day, I told her it probably
wasn’t worth it to come out to the races. Luckily, she didn’t listen to
However, last week’s $125,000 Mineshaft ’Cap is designed to serve merely as a prep race for the
Grade II New Orleans Handicap to be run as part of the
Louisiana Derby Day card April 1, closing day of the current Fair Grounds season. Would Campbell and Nates Mineshaft be returning for that?
“You know, I haven’t even really talked to the trainer since that race the other day,” said
“I have no idea what his plans are with the horse. But if he comes back
to run in that next race, I’d certainly like to fly back down here to
CARMEL’S CHALLENGING MARATHON RUN COMING UP SUNDAY
Fair Grounds-based horsewoman Carmel Heitzmann
has completed her training and pronounced herself ready to run in the
New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon this Sunday.
Portions of the local marathon’s route will take place on streets immediately adjacent to the Fair Grounds property.
“I ran about 10 miles Wednesday,” said the wife of trainer
Eric Heitzmann who supervises the daily operation of
her husband’s stable. “That should about do it for me until Sunday. Now,
all I’m going to do is rest up and load up on ‘carbs’ until the race.”
British-born but Irish-raised horsewoman was severely injured when
kicked by a horse in front of the Fair Grounds stands in February of
2011, and during those first critical hours and days her life was in
jeopardy. However, following exploratory surgery that led to the removal
of 24 inches of her colon, Heitzmann was released from the hospital 10
days after the accident.
a former marathon runner, she announced this winter that she was taking
pledges and going to run in this Sunday’s marathon to raise funds
for Donna and Dallas Keen’s
Remember Me Rescue.
That organization, along with the
Louisiana Horse Rescue Association, has aided in the rescue of more than 60 starving horses seized from a farm in northern
Louisiana in January. Those horses that can be saved still face a long and expensive road to full recovery.
Remember Me Rescue has a specific area on its website at TeamKeen.com that allows horse lovers to donate toward Heitzmann’s upcoming local marathon run.
KATIE MIKOLAY’S STAR KEEPS ASCENDING
Fair Grounds Racing Analyst Katie Mikolay
stars in a new video teaching newcomers five basic tips to
help introduce them to the world of handicapping. The video will debut
on this Tuesday’s edition of “Night School,” the free weekly
handicapping chat hosted online at HorsePlayerNOW.com and
also accessible via the Racing and Wagering page at
The video was made with the invaluable assistance of Fair Grounds television supervisor
Scott Mulkey and producer Lonnie Matherne.
started at Square One in this business,” said Mikolay. “I didn’t come
from a horseracing background and I knew absolutely nothing about the
sport when I got into it. What I tried to do in this video is to show
people that it is possible to learn about this sport and become
successful at it even though they might be starting out at Square One
just as I did.”