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Magic City's wins the stuff Dreams made of
By DON JENSEN
Published November 19, 2005
ST. PETERSBURG - Every two weeks, Magic City Kennel owner Randy Finegan travels from his Jacksonville residence to Derby Lane.
Finegan doesn't seem to mind the 31/2-hour trip, thanks to the success of several of his distance-running greyhounds.
Led by littermates Extruding Dream, Shameless Dream and Phenomenal Dream, Magic City has worked its magic in its first full season at Derby Lane. Entering Friday, Magic City ranked fifth in the win standings with 75 in 514 starts, 16 off the pace of leader LaRosa Enterprises. It's a dramatic improvement over last year, when Magic City missed the first three months and finished last among 21 kennels.
"We left the Jacksonville circuit and came to Derby Lane because it's at the top of the racing level in the state," Finegan said. "We're very satisfied with how we've done this year. Good athletes and good help have brought us good results."
Extruding Dream, Shameless Dream and Phenomenal Dream have done their parts for the 68-dog kennel. The three 21-month-old male dogs have combined for 19 victories in 40 starts, and own seven of the meet's top times at 660 yards. They are handled by trainer Doug Flint and assistant Andy Walker.
Extruding Dream is the kennel's top winner with eight, one behind meet co-leaders Joe Hearns and Kaias Hogan. Shameless Dream has seven victories, and overtook Extruding Dream on Wednesday for the best 660-yard time of 37.32 seconds. But Finegan says Phenomenal Dream (four wins) appears to have the most potential of the trio.
"He outruns the other two all the time in the mornings and his workout fractions are phenomenal," Finegan said. "He is the fastest dog I've ever put a lead strap on."
The three greyhounds are from a litter by Impossible Dream and Iwantthattrophy. Impossible Dream registered 54 career victories and placed in seven stakes races for Finegan.
Magic City's dogs have been overlooked somewhat by area fans. Forty-five of the kennel's 75 wins have returned at least $10 for a $2 win ticket. Payouts have included $45.60, $40, $34.60, $31 and $30; the average parimutuel win return is $13.20.
"Perhaps it's a case of us being underestimated," Finegan said. "But the gamblers are getting a lot of return on their money."
THANKSGIVING MATINEE: Derby Lane will have a 14-race matinee Thursday with post time at 12:30 p.m. The Plaza opens at 10:30 a.m. and the Derby Club at 11:30 a.m. There will be no night performance. Admission is free Thanksgiving weekend.