Day At The Track

Hall of Fame driver Dave Magee to retire

05:24 AM 26 Feb 2015 NZDT
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Dave Magee
Dave Magee

Chicago's leading harness driver for the past 30-plus years, Dave Magee, is retiring after his drives this Saturday night (Feb. 28) at Balmoral Park.

Magee is a Hall of Famer and has been one of the classiest individuals the sport of harness racing has ever known. He has almost 12,000 career victories and more than $101 million in career earnings during his illustrious career. He is one of only 18 drivers in the history of the sport to eclipse that $100 million mark in earnings and is the only Illinois based driver to go over $100 million in earnings.

Magee has had 10 seasons with $2 million-plus in earnings, 13 more seasons with $3 million in earnings and a trio of $4 million seasons. He won a whopping 630 races in 1994, which led all drivers in North America.

Dave also proved victorious in the 1995 World Driving Championship, defeating drivers from Canada, Australia, France, Sweden, Germany, Italy and other European stops.

He was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.

On the local scene Dave has been dominant throughout his career, winning driving titles at every Illinois racetrack. His 12 Maywood Park driving titles and 11 Sportsman's Park titles are both records. He is also the leader in Super Night victories among drivers.

He has also posted an amazing 36 straight seasons with more than $1 million in earnings and 38 straight seasons of 100 wins or more.

The 61-year-old Magee is a resident of Big Rock, Ill. He will be moving on to a new career as a State Steward (Judge) at Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind.

"I'm happy that Dave has found a new challenge for his life," said Balmoral Park racing director and USTA President Phil Langley. "With his experience, integrity and plain old smarts he might well become the best judge ever. The Illinois laws prevented us from hiring him two years ago so Indiana gains him.

"On the other hand it was almost with much sadness that I received an e-mail from him telling me of his decision. I was so choked up telling my wife that she thought something bad had happened. We will always be great friends and I wish the best to Dave and Cathy."

by Tom Kelley

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