March 29 - NSA PRESS BULLETIN
A 7-year-old son of Lear Fan, Campanile will represent the U.S. against rivals from Australia, New Zealand and Japan in the April 14 Nakayama Grand Jump at Nakayama Race Course near Tokyo. European horses were not invited to the world’s richest steeplechase because of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease outbreak. Campanile will fly to Japan on April 3, in the company of Elliot assistant Mary Teter and retired jump jockey Sean Clancy (who will serve as exercise rider for the big bay gelding). Trainer Janet Elliot and jockey Blythe Miller will arrive after the horse leaves quarantine.
Campanile finished third in a March 24 training flat race at Aiken, S.C. and appears ready to challenge the world. Elliot is happy with the preparations.
“(The flat race) worked out perfectly. I told Blythe to get him in the back and let him run through the lane and that’s what happened,” the trainer told Steeplechase Times. “He closed pretty damn nicely. I was pleased. Really pleased.”
Japan won the 2000 race (worth more than $700,000 to the winner) with Gokai, as U.S. horse Ninepins finished ninth. New Zealand’s Rand won the $320,000 Pegasus, a Grand Jump prep, at Nakayama March 24. The unbeaten horse set a track record (3:45.5) for about 2 1/16 miles, and defeated 13 foes including Australia’s Marlborough. Campanile ran that distance in 3:40 in Saratoga in 1999.
The Grand Jump is run at a distance of about 2 5/8 miles, and will include 16 runners including Rand and Marlborough.
April 4 - 10:30 AM. CAMPANILE REPORT
HORSE OVER ANCHORAGE: Campanile, America's hopeful for the April 14 Nakayama Grand Jump, landed in Anchorage, Alaska at about 9:15 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday. Aboard Nippon Cargo Airlines, the horse left New York's JFK International Airport at 2 a.m. on the way to Tokyo for the world's richest steeplechase. The $1.4 million race will also include horses from Australia, New Zealand and the host country. In the company of Mary Teter and Sean Clancy, Campanile has been a good traveler. "He's just standing there eating hay and carrots," said Sean via cell phone. "He's been great. Everyone walks by and says 'oh, he's so quiet.' " Campanile is the only horse on a plane full of cargo - he's in box number HMA00029KZ - bound for the Orient in a 747. Human company includes Teter, Clancy, a crew of four, one steward and one other passenger. The horse compartment looks like the inside of a horse trailer, and sits at the base of a staircase that leads up to the cockpit and a small seating area for the passengers. Teter and Clancy stay in their seats during takeoff and landing, but visit Campanile at other times during the flight. "He probably would have liked the company of another horse," said Sean, "but it's good for health reasons that he's the only horse on the plane." As for Alaska, it's "very dark," and cold with snow flurries - about what you would expect. Next stop Tokyo.
April 7 - Midnight. CAMPANILE UPDATE
Blame technology for the delay. Sean's having trouble getting on the internet, but here are his reports from Japan as Campanile prepares for the April 14 Nakayama Grand Jump.
TUESDAY, APRIL 3 Well, it ain’t the Ritz. Here we are, 9:42 p.m., Campanile’s sleeping (we hope) and we’re in the lounge at Vetport, Kennedy Airport. Kennel of barking dogs underneath us. Make a hell of a crack house, I’ll tell you. The reason I’m writing is because there is no light, so I can’t read my book, “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” which with all hope, is not what we’re embarking on. Other than the crack house, so far so good. We left Woodville, Janet Elliot’s Pennsylvania farm, at 2 a.m. on the dot. We dropped our trusty trainer at the Wawa near 322. She was off to the Philadelphia Airport on her way to Camden. Don’t ask how she got there, she was looking for a cab when we pulled out. I could have sworn I heard Campanile (who for all intents and purposes will be called Campi from here on in) whinny. And Janet, was definitely a little wistful. She jumped out and we drove on, Joy Cooper of Cooper Transportation did the driving and navigating. Over the George Washington Bridge at 4:59. “Is this good or bad, Joy?” “For here, good.” We were on the brakes like granny in her Cadillac.” Janet will be coming over on the 9th. So far, Mary has talked to her three times in the six hours we have all been apart. Poor nervous trainers, sending their babies to war. Campi seems to be taking the trip much better than Janet, of course he doesn’t know what it’s store. He looks great. Like one of those old-time horses. Big and solid. Like maybe what you would imagine Citation or Damascus to look like. His coat carries a deep brown shine, a trace of a trace clip still there, his weight looks great. We’ll how much he tucks up on the trip. As we were driving, Joy would say “Oh, there’s a nose,” every 30 miles or so. He was loose in a box stall on the way up and it sounds like he’ll have the same stall on the plane to Japan. He’ll be the only horse on the plane, good for physical comfort but maybe not mental. He seemed to be looking for a buddy when we put him in the stall here at Kennedy. We gave him some hay when we arrived, around 6:30, and he dove into that. Let’s hope he eats like that for the next two weeks. As we left for dinner at the Triple Crown Diner, we gave him some of Janet’s mix, we’ll see if he eats any of it. So that’s where we stand at the moment, 10:22, in the dark with planes lifting and landing all around. We’ll be one of them shortly. See you in Japan.
APRIL 4,2:11 A.M. In the airplane. Funny to sit here without Campanile. He’s down below. I wonder how he’s doing. We are taxiing about to take off for our trip around the world. We left the barn at midnight, took more than two hours to get here ? now we’re ripping down the runway. This is it. We’re really going. I wonder how Campi’s doing. He’s all by himself down below in this massive cargo 747. They put us all in a crate, basically a portable metal stall with a divider in the middle, no box stall. We loaded all of our bags (they tied my lap top in the empty stall like a little flying horse), buckets, webbing, two giant trunks, feed tub; looks like we’re not planning on coming back. We’ll have to make room for the money. Ah the money, $1.4 million dollars on the line. Let’s not think about it. We walked Campi off the van, about a five-minute ride from Vetport and straight into his crate, HMA 00029KZ. He balked for a moment, sort of slid off the edge of the low ramp. After he checked it out for a minute, he slowly walked on. It’s a little claustrophobic but really not any different than a regular stall in an American horse van. The crate slides on a conveyor belt after they strap it down. They say go and it’s a bunch of pivots and jolts until we’re on the back of a wagon on our way to the plane. We’re lifted up into the back of the plane, then slid all the way to the front of the giant cargo section. It’s huge, like a section of the Holland Tunnel. They lock the crate in place and then load the rest of the plane. Campi’s cool the whole time. Just checking it all out. We have to leave him and buckle in upstairs. I took pictures of the whole thing so you’ll get to see them in the next ST. Now I just wonder how he’s doing. It seems strange to be up here with him down below all by himself. OK, we just got the go ahead to check on him. See you in a minute. Campi’s cool. More relaxed than us. He’s munching on his hay net. We put a mesh cooler on him, the temperature is set to 52 degrees. Chilly for us, perfect for Campi. Great horse, cool (I hate to overuse that description, but it really sums him up ? I can’t get the parenthesis to go the other way as I retype this from a Japanese computer, more on that later). You can see Campi gain confidence from our demeanor. So far we’ve been traveling for 12 hours, 47 minutes. Campi is so aware of our tension level, it seems like if we went down there panicked then he’d pitch a turn-this-damn-plane-around fit. We won’t. Back to my seat and my book.
APRIL 4, 2001 ? 10:20 a.m. EASTERN TIME. Campi’s good and quiet. Alaska’s cold and damp. And I’m a vicious combination of barn, plane, and bed. Strange concoction here on Nippon Cargo Airlines. We reside in first-class seats, now, filled with hay and woodchips after checking on Campi every hour. Our travel log is at 20 hours and 24 minutes. We’re just idling now in Alaska, checking gauges, topping off fuel, fastening Langer Bolts. A small army inspected the plane when we arrived. Like I said, Campi is the only horse on board, he’s surrounded by crates all tied up in bubble wrap and belts. There has to be 500,000 Uniball pens packed in next to us. It took 126 steps to get from one end of the plane to the other. Campi’s still traveling with aplomb. We untied him when we touched down here in Alaska, so he could get his head down and blow his nose, which he did several times. Good old skating-on-a-cold-pond blows. He’s smooth so far. Great traveling companion. I can’t imagine making this trip with a nervous horse. So far, Campi’s on the same team awaiting Coach’s call. Now this is something, we just lifted off and I’m still typing. Laptop out, back pack in seat next to me, feet propped up, seat back flown back like a rocking chair, soda on the tray table. I’m getting back at every stewardess that ever woke me up and made me stow my tray table and all that nonsense. This is rebel flying. Mary just went to check on Campi as we’re over Alaska now. I always hate when a writer audaciously stamps a nickname on a horse. Campi sounds a little corny, but Campanile sounds a little formal for a companion you’re about to spend the next two and half weeks with. So that’s that. See you in Japan.
APRIL 5, 2001 ? THURSDAY IN JAPAN Touch down. We arrived on flight 115 at Tokyo International in Narita at 6:22 p.m. Eastern time. From here on in we’ll switch to Japan time. 7:22 on Thursday morning. Campi is all settled in now in Stall 2, B A at Quarantine Station in Shiroi. Still comfortable, staring out the back of his stall. Big, airy stalls, with lots of light and breeze. He seems to like it. Loves standing in the back looking out the big door. Everything has been checked, noted, and verified. The flight went smoothly, the only time Campi ever got agitated was on the van from the airport to the quarantine. He never turned a hair when they opened the nose of the plane and lowered us down. He peered out of the crate trying to recognize where he was. He knew it wasn’t Saratoga, Far Hills or Camden. The world, Campi, the world. The Japanese media met us there with cameras and flash. The Japanese met us and said, “Big,” as they sprayed down the crate. We were transported to his awaiting JRA van. A few jerks and props and we were in line with the van to make the switch from the crate to the van. Campi hesitated, looked at his choices and walked down the ramp to the carrier. It was the first time he showed any stress during the whole trip. He looked around and started a nervous shake. Not desperate but worried. He kicked the back of the stall twice as the Japanese help said, “Ohhhh.” We met our interpreter, Sho, who will spend the next week with us in “jail.” We arrived in Shiroi about an hour later as security confiscated half our stuff. Away went the Shosheen, carrots, hay, water, rubbing alcohol, baby oil, salt, Vaseline, thermometer, gauze, cotton, and Keratex Hoof Hardener. They have provided hay, straw, water, feed, supplements, poultice, hoof packing and even the Japanese version of Gastrogard. A herd of little men in surgical masks, smocks and wellies attacked everything in sight. We bowed a lot and they were quite courteous and friendly. The whole trip took 31 hours, from stall to stall. Campi looked tucked up in the van but then seemed to lower back down and looks well now. We fed him a little lunch and will take him for a walk and a bath in a few hours. So far, so good. Nothing to complain about, really couldn’t have traveled any better. He ate hay all the way, drank a little water and never got excited or agitated other than very briefly on the van and that was nothing that you would have even taken note of if we were at home. He probably gets just as agitated in the wash stall at home. It’s beautiful here, the cherry blossoms are out (famous in Japan) and the wind’s blowing just enough. Sounds like we’re stuck here, though. Mt. Fuji is calling my name and I can’t get to the phone. But all is well, I’m on Mt. Campi with a great view and a good foothold.
FRIDAY, APRIL 6. 10:35 A.M. First full morning in Japan. Taking care of horses on a trip like this is like raising children (work with me here). You celebrate the small accomplishments, take note of every new discovery and agonize over every detail. “He drank water. Mary he drank water.” “Ohh, how much? How much?”
“He pooped. He pooped.” “Oh, thank God. I was hoping he would. Great news.”
“He rolled. He rolled twice. Both sides.” “Did he really. Great. Great. Great news.”
“He’s walking great. Focused. On the shank.” “Yes he is. What a good boy.”
So those are our conversations here in Japan. There are no other horses here, just us. Very quiet time. Lots of book reading, tried to play Japanese Nintendo, and the TV only plays in Japanese. Watched Hideo Nomo throw a no-hitter and didn’t know it until I read it in the Daily Yomiuri, the only thing in English that I can find. Campi seems well enough so far. It will be interesting to see if he gets better as he settles in or worse. If he improves from his mental attitude right now, we’ll be in good shape. We walked him all around the place this morning, he had two good rolls and was turned out in his little paddock for about an hour. He’s pulling like crazy on the rope shank snapped to his halter. He gave one quick head toss and an almost squeal when he got up from rolling. The government checked everything from his gums to his heart and he gets an official weigh-in tomorrow. Right now, a day after the ship, you couldn’t ask him to be doing any better. You would hope he’s livelier and has eaten more by raceday but we have a week for that. Just depends if he gets better or worse from here. Sho seems impressed with his size and manners. “Always this quiet?” he asks. “Ohh, the muscle.” he says. Sho and I spent an hour last night trying to get my laptop connected to the internet so you could get daily updates, absolutely no luck. By the end he asked if it was OK that I didn’t send it, like would I get fired. I told him it’s my company, Steeplechase Times, just my brother and me. “Brother and you, no more?” he asks. “Just us, so it’s not like I’ll lose my job but it’s just that everybody is waiting to hear about Campanile,” I explained. “Yes. Yes. Campanile,” he answered. I feel like Mary, Campi, Sho and I are on the third edition of “Survivor, in Shiroi, the Japanese Sticks.” I asked Sho if there as a computer expert. “In Shiroi? Like looking for Whiskey at the rice shop.”
SATURDAY, APRIL 7. 11:27 A.M. A jump race is about to come on the TV, one from Nakayama, as I type out today’s journal from a computer in our cafeteria. We are fed breakfast, lunch and dinner here. A step above the track kitchen. Things are good. I basically retyped all that you just read from my laptop to this computer and will get Sho to copy it on a floppy and send it to Joe. Hopefully it’ll work or I just got Carpal Tunnel Syndrome for nothing. I rode Campi today. Went out to the training track, a good dirt track, for a mile and a half jog. Let him walk about 200 meters and jogged a little less than twice around. It’s 1400 meters (seven furlongs) around. He stood in several times staring at his new digs before picking up a long, slow jog. He felt a little stiff for about five strides and then warmed up to a great free movement. You have to remember he has not been ridden since a week ago in the Carolina Cup. He jogged slowly around and looked at everything, twitched his ears at the crows, the cameras, and even the cherry blossoms that blew in front of him. That says there is not much to tell. He’s in good form and all is well. For some reason, this computer switches to Japanese from time to time. Anyway, Campi’s in good shape. Seems to have eaten more last night and trained well today. The main worry is his appetite. We’re hoping that today’s exercise will bring his desire to eat up to par. Hopefully I’ll be back each day with new updates. The race is one week away, so far so good. Like I said before, it’s all about how well he does from here on. If he regroups and begins to eat better and feel better, then we have a chance, I believe. You really couldn’t ask him to eat much or feel great up to this point, considering the ship and the new surroundings. We’ll see from here. The fingers are crossed, the wood knocked, and the prayers said and done.
April 9 - CAMPANILE UPDATE
CAMPANILE REPORT: Monday, April 9 ? 10:28 a.m. (Japan time). It has been two and a half days since my first and last correspondence. Shiroi Jail is the same. We are getting a little stir crazy. My only salvation was the paper, The Daily Yomiuri, and today it did not arrive. The delivery department took the day off, about once a month, they say, this happens in Japan. The divide to civilization has broadened here in Alcatraz. The good news is that we only have two more mornings here in quarantine. By Wednesday, we will be free. I have not given up hope in seeing Mt. Fuji. Campanile feels the same way as we do. He is a little bored, a little stressed, a little mad, a little sour, a little dull. Nothing diabolical, but just feeling down about it all. He seems bored in his stall, disappointed when he walks, and generally a little irritated by his environment. You feel like getting down in the sand and showing him how to roll. Like digging in his feed tub and showing him how to eat. Like dancing around and showing him how to be excited again. It is not drastic, the horse is in good health, is eating some, and still feels OK. You just wish he would show you more life, would eat some more and give us all confidence, almost reassure us, that this race is still possible. That the trip is not that bad. We jogged a mile and galloped a mile this morning and then stood in the gate. He jogged two miles yesterday. He is sound and, considering he is all by himself, I think is training well. I let him walk all over the racetrack, down the inside rail, over to the outside rail. Let him stand and look whenever he wants. He likes to stand with his head over the inside rail and look across the country. He galloped well I thought. Started out slowly and was content to just lope along. By the time we went around once he was ready to get going. Really, each furlong he went, the stronger he felt. I had to say whoa a couple of times while he was saying, bring it on. He always picks it up when he changes his leads and he did that today. The last eighth, he banged onto his left lead and grabbed the bit. All good signs. We walked back to the gate where about eight people waited for us. I let him walk around a little behind the gate before we walked up to it. He walked straight in the number seven stall, could it be lucky?, by himself. Mary walked into the six stall next to him and tried to soothe him while I talked incessantly to him. He got a little nervous, looked behind him and threw his head down. A little like his anxiety in the van from the airport to quarantine. I have to say, it was a little unnerving, but he composed himself quickly. And mind you, if a normal horse did this on a normal morning, I would not even come home and talk about it. I am dissecting every detail here. We backed out after about 30 seconds, walked a circle, and went in again. The second time he was very quiet about it all. Just stood there like an old hunter, so it seems the exercise was needed and was successful. I had Mary snap the rope shank on him and we walked down the outside rail all the way home, about half a mile. The gallop and gate definitely picked his head up. A pep in his step was present for the first time since we’ve been here. The hard part of all this, is to judge his health and mood. Should he be jumping out of his skin? Of course not, he flew around the world, his days are his nights now, he can not eat grass, he sees no other horses. But is he OK? Is he at least relatively spry and alert considering the circumstances? That is what we try to figure out each day we are here. Personally, I think the horse is doing well. He is not out of this world crazy but I would not expect him to be. I wish he was eating more and, sure, I wish he would bounce around here like King Kong. Realistically, we can not expect that so we do the best we can with the way he feels. He will gallop again tomorrow and hopefully be more energetic than today. I told Janet yesterday, if I took the horse out on any normal day at home and he jogged around and galloped a mile like he today, I would come back to the barn and say he was fine. It’s just tricky when you have a huge task at hand, to feel confident, knowing all the challenges that he has faced and will face. My challenges with the internet have been Grand National-esque. I can not receive e-mail so do not feel neglected if you sent some already and I did not reply (try the office e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org). I wanted to give you an hourly report from here, but unfortunately, that has been very very difficult. I will write again tomorrow. Hopefully this report was not half in Japanese as the last one. I have a long detailed journal that will run in the ST when I return. We are doing the best we can. Campi included. P.S. Who won the Masters?
April 10 - CAMPANILE UPDATE
CAMPANILE UPDATE: April 10 ? 10:41 a.m.
Trip. What trip? Jet lag. What jet lag? Time difference. What time difference? Campanile was all horse this morning. We hit the track at our allotted 7:30 time slot. We walked down the track again, just meandering from one side to the other, hanging our head over the rail (I even took pictures from the saddle), and taking in the sights and sounds of Shiroi Quarantine (it does not take long). Eventually we picked up a jog, long and slow, like always. Campi felt loose and fluid. We finished our jog and turned in for a moment before embarking on a mile and half gallop. About halfway through, Campi was ready to roll. I sat as still as I could, like being in a telephone booth with a bee and a cup of steaming hot coffee. Campi stretched his head down to the dirt, powering into his stride. He felt unbelievable. Like he could go around 10 times at that speed and stride. Mind you, we were not going fast, just bowling along with ease. Campi felt the same way on Colonial Cup morning last y ear. Giving you the feeling that he would get stronger (and you weaker) with every turn. It is a great feeling in a jumper. He pulled up on his own, with a whole bunch of whoas (the universal horse term) from me. He gave me a few head shakes and blew his nose out. Then walked home like he was psyched to finally do something. He marched home with a mental ease that I liked. Almost like he had to blow his pipes out a little to feel better. Back at the barn, he seemed like he was more in the swing of things. Just little changes from the last few days. I hope this is not just wishful thinking on my part. I do think he was better this morning. We gave him a walk, a bath, and then he was checked by more Japanese officials. Now he is getting a massage from Mary (she has openings when she returns), chilling in his ice boots, and hopefully will dive into lunch in a few minutes. He has begun to eat a little more, also. Things do seem better with Campanile. As for Mary and me, this is not the way to see Japan. We asked our cooks to whip up a traditional Japanese meal for us tonight, that will be the excitement for the day. It does seem wrong to complain about the dullness of this trip. We signed up for it and the experience is worth it but boy, times are sure slow around here. I feel like I am deserted in a some unknown island. Like Gilligan's Island but without the Skipper, the Profesor, Mary Ann, Ginger and the Howells ? not to mention no daily scrapes with aliens, rescues or fishing trips. I do feel as hapless as Gilligan, though. We get off the island tomorrow so hopefully things will get better from there. This is one of those places where you find yourself announcing races out loud in a cross accent of Japanese and England's Peter O'Sullivan (Campanile leads them down to the Grand Jump with last year's winner Gokai looking to double from second, Fujiwama tracks them in third, the kiwi Rand cruises along in fourth, Sashimi Sushi fifth, with Hakawami three back, and Tokyohokyo next . . ." Yes, I think I have lost it. Please send for me.
April 11 - CAMPANILE UPDATE
April 11. 10:22 am. (Japan Time) DOING BETTER: Two miles today. Trust me, Campanile is doing fine. He toted me along for two strong miles today. We went the wrong way for a change of pace and possibly a little practice for Saturday’s figure eight racecourse. Janet arrived to oversee his training this morning, decked out in Shiroi’s best blue coveralls (I kept wanting to ask her to change my oil), she seemed happy with his behavior. She was definitely disappointed in the way he had lost his top line. He does not look like he did when he stepped on the van. In one week, his muscle tone has wilted. His mood is on the upswing though. He has responded to the increase in work. Today, he came home animated and ready for action. Horses need work and Campanile loved his roll around the track today. He eased off an easy half-mile then gradually picked it up the whole way. The last quarter, I absolutely could not have slowed him down. We were maybe open galloping, no more, but damn, he felt great. I swear the horse is doing great. It sounds like the race has 12 entries, the best three being Gokai (winner last year), Rand (undefeated from New Zealand) and us. At least that is what we are told. They say Gokai has not raced since February and does his best racing when he has a prep. So, in that respecte, the race sounds good. I am glad the way Campi has come around in the last few days. We ship to Nakayama in about 30 minutes. Hopefully he will like it there and keep improving. We are out of jail. See you at Nakayama.