In 1970 Campo predicted he would saddle 100 winners in New York, something only one trainer had ever done. (Buddy Jacobson had 110 winners in New York in 1963 and 100 in 1964.) Coming up to the last racing day, Campo had 98 winners; he finished first three times to end the year with 101. Overall in 1970 he won 133, placed 108 times and had 111 horses show in 806 starts. He won $1,103,529, second among all trainers.
"We have had a few other public trainers who started like Campo," said Burch, who won $776,528 in 1970 with only 146 starts (he averaged $5,300 in winnings for each starter, compared to Campo's $1,350). "I suppose if he keeps winning, he'll eventually get a private stable and then we will see what kind of trainer he is."
Campo has no interest in a private stable now. "I'm too young," he said the other day. "Maybe in a few years. But I like what I'm doing now. I wouldn't want to be a private trainer. The first thing happens if you're losing, they blame the jocks, then they blame the trainers. No one thinks to blame the horses." Right now, Campo has 11 owners and could probably have more if he wanted them.
"He's in a good spot," says Burch. "He's successful, and a lot of owners would like to have him train their horses. From what I've heard, he's pretty good to his owners."
"All my owners finished in the black last year," Campo said early one morning outside his Belmont barn. "You figure they're making money, they're happy." It was a chill morning and he was walking toward the track to watch some of his horses work. As he walked along, he exchanged greetings with other trainers and with exercise boys and grooms. He was friendly enough but somewhat withdrawn.
"I don't socialize with other trainers," he said. "I mean, there's no point. I remember one time I'm having a few drinks with another trainer, I'm telling him about a horse I got, the good things about this horse. Week later, I run the horse and this guy claims him." He shook his head. "So I wait a while, watch his stable looking for a horse and finally I find the right one and I claim one of his. Next time I see him, I tell him, "Now I'm going to beat you with your horse,' and I waited. Finally I got in a race with the horse he claimed on me. His horse is 4 to 5, mine is 7 to 1. I don't usually tell a jock much when he's riding for me. A good jock, I just say good luck; maybe tell him if the horse likes to run inside or outside. But I told this jock, 'You go head to head with his horse three furlongs and he'll stop. You win easy.' We won by six lengths and his horse came third."
He was at the edge of the track now, watching the horses go by, steam rising from their backs in the early chill.
"I don't claim from nobody unless they claim from me first," he said. "A man claims from me, then I go after him. It's a tough business."
He watched a few minutes more, then turned to walk back to his barn, a squat figure in a blue windbreaker, chinos and brown boots. A young trainer called to him as he left and Campo turned and said, "Hey, you. You gonna be eating rye bread tonight, not clams."
He laughed and started walking again.