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Kelly's Star Shining Bright

Published: February 5, 2020 6:33 pm ET

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"It's a little bit more of a smaller pond but you can make a name for yourself, and you have a little bit more of an opportunity out there. There's a bit more pressure here in Ontario...you can hone your craft."

Of the seven Future Star winners since the genesis of the award, three have captured the award after solid campaigns in Alberta -- Travis Cullen in 2013, Chris Lancaster in 2018 and the most recent recipient, Dave Kelly. A native of Sydney, N.S., who now resides and competes in Alberta, Kelly enjoyed a career year in 2019, driving 108 winners and recording more than $672,000 in purse earnings while also topping the Century Mile driving charts in wins.  

As a catch driver Kelly reined many top performers including three-year-old pacing filly Rockin Mystery, who he teamed up with for several stakes wins including the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association (ASHA) Breeders Stake on June 15.  On the training side, Kelly conditioned 50 winners and horses to almost $275,000 in earnings.

"We had a lot of great owners that will kind of willing to reinvest, we got better horses, we got a lot of young horses," Kelly told SC's Rachel Oenema of his award-winning season. "Stakes is where you're going to make your money in the west, that's where we have the majority of our purse pool. So having those [owners] willing to reinvest and willing to buy better horses for me makes my job a whole lot easier."

Kelly also discussed some of the highlights of his season as well as the role of his family in his success. The full post-event interview with Kelly and Oenema is available below.

This is the third in a series of post-event video interviews with O'Brien Award finalists, sponsored by Horse Racing Alberta.

On Saturday, February 1, Standardbred Canada announced the winners for the 2019 O’Brien Award at the 31st edition of the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala held at the Hilton Mississauga / Meadowvale hotel in Mississauga, Ont. The O’Brien Awards honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season and are named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The event was covered live on the SC website. The official list of winners is available here, with the official voting results available here.


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