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Magee looks to pad his Springfield stakes wins
Thursday, August 19, 2010 - by Mike Paradise, for the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Assn.

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Springfield, IL --- The Illinois State Fair wraps up its 2010 meeting on Thursday (August 19) with six Illinois State Fair Colt Stake Championships and the driver who through the years has often dominated these added money events could be making more stops to the fair’s winner’s circle.

National Hall of Fame driver Dave Magee will be behind three of the four morning line favorites in the ICF 2-year-old finals. He’ll also be handling the co-favorite, Cotton Candy, in the state-bred 3-year-old filly pace showdown, and he has a solid contender in the freshman colt trot.

We asked Dave how long has he been making the 3-1/2 hour drive from the Chicago area to Springfield to compete at the State Fair?

“If I knew I’d be coming here for so many years I might have kept track,” the 56-year-old Green Bay, Wisconsin native replied, laughing. “I really don’t know but it must be close to 30 years. They keep announcing that I’m the winningest driver ever at Springfield so I guess I am.”

Magee likes to compete at Springfield and his time in the state capitol has been even more enjoyable since he’s been bringing the whole family along for all of the State Fair activities.

“I really like coming down to Springfield,” said Magee. “I’m really enjoying this. I have the family with me and we’re making it a vacation. They love the rides and the food and it’s just been a lot of fun. This year we even have my granddaughter from Quad Cities here so it’s a special time for me and my wife Cathy.”

Magee will be behind the heavy favorite Miss Caroline B in the Illinois State Fair Colt Stake Final for 2-year-old filly trotters, the 3-1 morning line choice Pardon in the freshman filly pace, the 3-1 programmed choice Boi in the colt pace division, and the 4-1 second choice Detailer in the juvenile trot for colts and geldings.

Miss Caroline B was hammered down to 1-9 odds when she drew off by 12-1/2 lengths in winning her 1:57.2 elimination.

“Miss Caroline B is what they call a push-button horse,” said Magee. “The filly is very handy. She can leave or she can come from behind and she races like more of an older horse. (Trainer) Bobby Taylor has done a terrific job with her.”

Photo courtesy of the IHHA
Pardon was a half-length winner over Mystical MJ in their State Fair Colt Stakes elimination.

Magee made an early move with Pardon to the front in her elimination and the Richess Hanover filly posted a 1:54 clocking to stay perfect through her first six career starts that included stake triumphs last month in a Hanover and the Loyal Opposition Final.

“I think Pardon is a real good filly,” said Magee. “She’s long-gaited and she covers the ground very well. She really hasn’t found the end of the mile yet. The filly just keeps on going. I raced her at Balmoral first over and she still had a strong last quarter. Her elimination race here was a nice tightner for her because she hadn’t raced in a couple of weeks.

“Pardon certainly has a big shot in the final. She may not dominate but she’ll be very competitive, that’s for sure.

“Boi was impressive in his elimination (winning in 1:54),” continued Magee. He’s a quick horse and Dirk (trainer Simpson) has brought him along very nicely just as he did with Pardon. The colt had been racing from the back. I followed him with another horse last time and we couldn’t keep up with him.

“I knew Boi could finish well but Dirk thought in his elimination I could leave with him a little so when the gate sprung open he kind of took over. He got out of there nicely. And he also finished very strong.

“Detailer is racing well. He’s another nice young totter that Robert (Taylor) has. He’s a little more rugged than Miss Caroline B as far as how he likes to race. And like her he’s right there with the best in their divisions.”

Cotton Candy will be coupled with Mystical Victress (Marcus Miller) who got her nose in front of Magee’s drive in Balmoral’s July 31 Ann Vonian Final. Two weeks earlier both Erv Miller trained fillies captured Hanover stakes divisions at the Crete track.

-- Mike Paradise writes a daily column for the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association at

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