The straight-talking Johnny Campo, Pleasant Colony’s trainer, was always quick with a comment and rarely had a filter. It was a byproduct of his Italian upbringing and his undying confidence. Campo spouted off that Colony would win the 1981 Kentucky Derby because the rest of the horses were “a bunch of garbage,” and he lived down those words when his broad-bodied Thoroughbred was first across the line in both Louisville and Baltimore. But the third jewel proved elusive as Pleasant Colony finished wearily in third place, a length-and-a-half behind Summing and second-place Highland Blade. Campo, not one to take defeat lightly, blamed his horse’s distraction on the presence of a cameraman at the starting gate. But finally, the loudmouthed trainer admitted, “You can’t make excuses… the best horse won.” Pleasant Colony went on, though, to spread his success, siring 73 stakes-winning horses.
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