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Horse slaughter in Illinois
DAVE MAGEE NEARING 11,000 VICTORIES
Groucho Marx once said that getting older was no problem; you just have to live long enough. It’s a little like how Dave Magee feels as he approaches career win No. 11,000. Magee entered Monday needing two victories to become only the sixth harness racing driver in history to reach the plateau.
“I’ve never really put a lot of stake in the numbers. I just credit it to longevity,” Magee said. “I was fortunate when I started that things went well and started rolling along and they rolled along well for a long time. I’ve been very fortunate.”
Magee, 55, was born in Wisconsin, but has been a staple on the Chicago circuit for decades. He led North America in wins in 1994, with a career-best 630, and won the World Driving Championship the following year. He was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.
Last year, Magee won 148 races – his lowest total since 1977 – while cutting back his schedule. He made fewer than 1,500 starts (1,429) for only the second time since 1979. He still won his share of major races, including the Orange and Blue, the Grandma Ann and an American-National.
“My body is asking for a little break, so I’m accommodating it,” Magee said. “I’ve had some injuries over the years that have taken their toll. I feel much better if I don’t race on a nightly basis. I did this last year and had a good season. I’m hoping to land a couple nice colts again this year and do well throughout the stakes season. We’ll see what happens.”
Magee, who last was sidelined by injury in 2005 when he separated his right shoulder, has spent his extra free time by attending high school basketball games and operating a nearby Sears store he purchased two years ago.
As for the future, Magee has only one goal.
“I’m not shooting for anything except 11,000 (wins) right now,” he said.
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