Trainer and driver David Kelly had a monster closing day at The Track On 2 on Sunday, Sept. 17. Kelly picked up five driving victories coinciding with four training wins on the nine-race card, including a track record performance for three-year-old pacing colts by Panda Beer on his way to securing the leading driver and trainer trophies for the meet.
Starting from post position two in the a field of five in non-winners of four company, Kelly hustled Panda Beer off the wings of the gate to a two-length lead through the first-quarter in :28. Kelly gave Panda Beer a breather in the second quarter, reaching the halfway point unchallenged on the lead in :58. Pressure came to Panda Beer on the far turn as Lets Go To Vegas, with Logan Gillis, was first to move first-over into third as Panda Beer remained on top at three-quarters in 1:26.4.
Kelly hit the gas pedal at the top of the lane as race favourite Lumber Baron and Michael Hennessy launched their bid from the pocket at the top of the stretch. Panda Beer dug in gamely with a strong :27.1 finalquarter to fend off Lumber Baron by a nose on the line for the 1:54 victory. Panda Beer paid $11 to win.
Trained and co-owned by Kelly along with Marcia Smith, Daniel McDougall and Donald McDougall, Panda Beer picked up his third victory in 13 starts in 2023. The son of Vertical Horizon-Panagler has now banked $18,294 for his career.
The 1:54 mark lowered the previous track record established by Im An Open Road in 2021.
For The Track On 2 meet, Kelly picked up 42 driving victories and 26 training victories on his way to earning top honours in each category.
Kelly's remaining wins on the Sunday card were with the likes of Teddy Hanover, HF Thegreatpumpkin, Tropical Dragon and Cease Fire, the latter three of which Kelly also did the conditioning.
A pair of claiming series finals also highlighted the closing day card, with Wiggy scoring the victory in a thriller in the $14,000 filly and mare final. Driver Brandon Campbell put Wiggy on the engine in the early stages before relinquishing the lead to Lost In The Moment and Mike Hennessy at the quarter in :29.1. Lost In The Moment had the lead to herself to the half in :58.2 before Outlawkissmyclass and Logan Gillis charged first-over from fourth to put their nose in front at three-quarters in 1:27.2.
The duo continued to duel on the lead at the top of the lane as Campbell desperately searched for room with Wiggy, who was boxed-in, third. Campbell was able to slip up the inside where Wiggy powered home in :26.3 to get up by a neck in 1:54.3. Lost In The Moment battled for second and Outlawkissmyclass finished third. Wiggy paid $10.30 to win.
Trained by Jacques Lambert, who co-owns the filly with Jim Wilson and Larry Hanson, Wiggy picked up her fourth victory in 25 seasonal starts. The victory pushed the career bankroll of the three-year-old daughter of All Bets Off-Wiggle It J to $34,550.
In the $14,300 male conterpart, Bearcat Sue (pictured above) launched a late rally to score the 12-1 upset. Starting from post four in the field of eight, Bearcat Sue and driver Jamie Gray found themselves seventh in the early stages as Ceia When I Ceia and Brandon Campbell set a hot early pace of :27. Ceia When I Ceia led to the half in :57.1 while Bearcat Sue flushed the cover of Bud Neigh Kid and David Kelly. The cover proved to be live as Bud Neigh Kid joined Ceia When I Ceia on the lead at three-quarters in 1:26 with Bearcat Sue poised to strike off cover.
Bud Neigh Kid put away Ceia When I Ceia at the top of the lane before Bearcat Sue set his sights on the leader. Closing stoutly with a :28 final quarter, Bearcat Sue nailed Bud Neigh Kid on the line by a nose in 1:54.2. Texas Drifter and Mike Hennessy finished third. Bearcat Sue paid $26.20 for the victory.
The 1:54.2 clocking was a lifetime best for the four-year-old gelded son of Mystician-Barona Josie who scored his fourth win of 2023. Owned and trained by Douglas Stout, Bearcat Sue boasts a career bankroll of $34,024.
To view results for the Sunday card at The Track On 2, click the following link: Sunday Results - The Track On 2