Fresh on the heels of Hot Mess Express’s farewell win Friday, Feb. 2 at The Meadowlands, it was another foal by Panther Hanover in the winner’s circle Sat. Feb. 3 at The Big M. Bobcat Bay rallied home for the win in 1:51.2 with Jordan Stratton in the bike.
Bobcat Bay wasted no time unveiling his intentions and busted out of the gate for the lead from post nine. He angled over in front of the entire field and had the top spot before he reached the first turn and stopped the timer in :27.2 at the first pole. Mister Donald A, the roan horse of the conditioned pace, was hung on the outside and went on around Bobcat Bay to lead the field through middle fractions of :55.1 and 1:23.1. Bobcat Bay hung right at his back the entire way, waiting for the stretch.
In the stretch, Bobcat Bay had room to move out and tipped to the outside. It looked like he was going to go right on by, but Mister Donald A had more left and dug in to fend off Bobcat Bay. The two horses matched each other stride for stride until the final few feet of the race when Bobcat Bay began to get the edge, winning by one-half length at the wire. Levine and David Miller rallied on the outside to move up to third.
Bobcat Bay paid $13.60 for the win. The seven-year-old Panther Hanover gelding is still owned by his breeders, Nancy and Donald Musillami of Illinois. Jeff Smith handles the training of the Indiana gelding, who now has 20 career wins. His career bankroll is reaching closer to $200,000 lifetime and his career mark of 1:49.3 was taken at Hawthorne when he was four. Like Hot Mess Express, Bobcat Bay began his career at the Illinois State Fair as part of the Tom Simmons barn before graduating to the pari-mutuel ranks. His dam, Madeira Island, was a good race mare herself and earned a mark of 1:52.0 and more than $147,000 during her racing career. She is nearly a 100 percent producer with six winners out of seven of racing age. She has a two-year-old this season, a colt by Capt Midnight named Captain Mad Dog, who is in training with hopes of making it to the races this summer.