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Win-Win Scenario For Colin Kelly

Published: June 21, 2019 5:23 pm ET

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On the heels of his first million-dollar season, Nova Scotia native turned Ontario circuit regular Colin Kelly will branch his talents farther west as he travels to Century Downs for its annual Pacing for Charity event slated for this Sunday (June 23).

Kelly, sibling to Century Downs' regular Dave Kelly, will fly to the Calgary, Alberta oval for its Saturday card to not only acclimate with the racing but also to spend time with his older brother.

“Last week I was on the phone with my brother and he mentioned that Colleen [Haining from ASHA] had asked if I would be interested in coming out,” Kelly said on the invitation. “It’s a good opportunity for me...I don’t get to see my brother a whole lot as he runs a barn of 15 or 16 out in Alberta, and we race so much here that you don’t get a chance to get away. So it’s nice to go and see a different track and visit my brother, get to spend some time and see how he runs things there.”

The brothers always spent time with horses as children and teenagers. While Colin eventually shipped tack to Ontario in 2016, his brother Dave left the sport in college and worked in Alberta's oil fields to pay off student loans. The elder Kelly then got the opportunity to train horses on the Alberta circuit before eventually returning to racing with a stable of his own.

“When we were younger we were always at the barn,” Kelly said. “My parents [and] grandparents always had horses. When we were both 12 we both got our first racehorse for our birthday. We were kind of born into it; there was no getting away from it. [But] then he was in college and was going to Alberta in the summers to make some money, pay off some student loans, working in the oil fields. He kind of got away from it for a couple years but things have taken off for him recently.

“I never had intentions of going past Ontario. I got an opportunity to start out here and I was just grooming [and] working for Kyle Fellows. Then he started putting me on a couple and things kind of took off from there. I’ve never really thought about going to Alberta...I’ve been there once and it just happened to be so cold that the races had to be cancelled.”

Growing up, the Kellys raced against each other occasionally at Truro Raceway, Northside Downs and Inverness Raceway while also managing and sometimes driving for each other’s stables. The sons of David 'Crocker' Kelly learned the trade at a young age and both eventually blossomed into successful horsemen on their respective circuits.

“When [Dave] was in high school, we were always in the barn,” Kelly said. “You’d get off school and go to the barn to [take care of] your horse. You had to show up -- put in some time and dedication, more or less. At home there was always an abundance of cheap horses to learn around. It was really good...and you appreciate it now that you get to sit behind some really nice horses when, back east, you’d have classy horses that were older and kind of lame which always gave you something to work on.”

Now on his way to what would appear to be his second straight million-dollar season with $823,030 in seasonal earnings and 114 wins -- sixth best in the country -- Kelly will represent the Ronald McDonald House in Century Downs’ fourth annual Pacing for Charity event, competing along with four-time participant James MacDonald and fellow newcomer Bob McClure.

While comfortable racing primarily in Ontario, the young driver was more than willing to take an opportunity to see his brother while also racing to earn money for sick children.

“I always get excited to go to a new track -- a track I’ve never seen before -- meet some new people [and] drive against some people with different styles. There’s pretty much the same group of drivers in every race here at the B tracks, so we know each other all pretty well and it’s always nice to have some new faces on the track.”

To view the entries for Sunday's card, click one of the following links:

► Century Downs: Sunday Entries -- Sunday Program Pages (courtesy TrackIT)

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Ray Cotolo)

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