by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows
Washington, PA — Rick Magee, a stalwart of Midwest racing, has moved his tack to The Meadows now that Hawthorne and Running Aces have completed their meetings and expects to stay here at least through year’s end.
Magee, who usually takes winters off, indicated he decided to keep his seven head going this year because he thinks they’ll fit well at The Meadows.
“One of the things I really like about this track is their classifications for trotters,” he says. “They write a lot of trots, and they split up the girls and the boys. In Minnesota, they don’t have a big enough batch of trotters to do that.”
Magee, nephew of prominent drivers Dave Magee (a Hall of Famer) and Dean Magee, is one of the sport’s dwindling breed of trainer/drivers who’s not particularly interested in specializing in one discipline or the other. For his career, he’s collected 1,045 driving wins, another 422 as a trainer.
“I catch drive a lot in Minnesota, but they race only three days a week,” he says. “There’s not enough income sometimes and a lot of time to fill. At other tracks, I’ve never really stayed long enough to get catch drives, though I’d get some after a while.”
On Saturday, Magee will send out Scramble Camp, a 3-year-old Weight Lifter-Hall Of Beauty gelding trotter who’s won 15 of 17 starts this year for Daniel Roland and Robert Davis. He remains eligible for Saturday’s $11,100 non-winners of five event because most of his victories were in Iowa non-betting races that don’t count against his win total. Scramble Camp goes from post two (head number three) with Tony Hall.
Magee ordinarily would handle the reins himself, but he’ll be on a quick trip to his home in Wisconsin, where he maintains a three-broodmare farm and also helps his dad, Kevin Magee, who owns and operates a feed business.
If you happen to encounter Magee, don’t ask him how he spends his free time. He doesn’t have any.
Saturday’s card offers a number of attractive wagering opportunities, including a pair of rich pool guarantees — $7,500 for the Pick-4, $5,000 for the Pick-5 — and the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 1:05 p.m.