Sometimes a great event gives me a chance to dig into the archives and find some lost facts that deserve to have another chance to shine.
As the Belmont Stakes looms, so does the chance we'll be able to celebrate the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. The photo below shows the mighty Affirmed striding around the shedrow at Belmont the week before the race.
Who knows if California Chrome can win the Belmont today and make history, but it seems like today is a nice opportunity to make sure that we remember the last horseshoer to plate a Triple Crown winner.
His name was Elmer Campbell and, lucky for me, he would let me follow him around and take pictures of him. He shod out of the back of a sleek Saab Turbo (a very sexy car back in the day) and he told great stories and I miss him.
According to my research, Elmer and/or his sons shod Affirmed for the Preakness and Belmont, but not for the Derby.
Elmer didn't call it a day after Affirmed, he came right back and shod the great filly Genuine Risk to win the Kentucky Derby. Elmer shod Kentucky Derby winners Bold Forbes, Strike the Gold and Decidely, too. The last time I checked, he and Kentucky's Jackie Thomspon were tied for having shod the most Derby winners, with five each on the record of each shoer.
I'm remembering Elmer today, with a big smile. His son Joe still shoes at the New York tracks, look for him if you go there and get him to tell you some stories.
We need to keep those stories alive.
by Fran Jurga
To learn more:
Elmer Campbell death announcement
Maryland's Hoof First Connections to the Triple Crown
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