Dean got his start here in Wisconsin working for the great Wisconsin Hall of Famers Hugh & Elwood Magee. Dean worked hand in hand, especially with Hugh, learning the harness racing trade and developing his horsemanship skills. These skills would not only be used as a trainer, but also as a driver. While being a groom and trainer apprentice, he received his driver’s license and had his very first drive here in the Badger State in Manitowoc in 1981. Also, George “Woody” Woodbridge put Dean up on Hit Fashion for both horse & driver first starts. Hurricane Belle, owned by Dean’s Grandpa Hugh, was his first winning drive in Chippewa Falls in the early 1980’s and then went on to win with her at Quad City Downs.
Not many Wisconsin horsemen get the opportunity to make it big, but Dean set off to have his try. He soon moved to Quad City Downs as a teenager to begin grooming for his older brother Dave Magee (also Hall of Fame inductee). Dean embarked on his own driving career and his driving style captured three consecutive driving titles at Quad City Downs in the 1980’s. Soon thereafter he headed to the Windy City to try his luck and was met with great success. Dean has driving all over the country and even in Canada and was given the opportunity to be the regular pilot of Yankee Cruiser who has given Dean his biggest wins to date.
He has over $28 million in purse earnings and over 4,500 wins to his credit. He has won 14 races with purses over $100,000. Not only has Dean been a powerhouse in Illinois, but he has traveled the country and Canada driving in the Breeder’s Crown, Meadowlands Pace, and North American Cup.
Dean has never forgotten his Wisconsin roots. During his tenure at Quad City Downs and the Chicagoland racetracks, Dean continued to be a steady driver for a slew of Wisconsin stables. This proves that just because he moved on to the pari-mutel setting, he still kept his Wisconsin family at heart.
He most recently kept us in mind by frequenting the Minnesota track Running Aces and making some cameo driving appearances in Wisconsin in 2007 & 2011.
Congratulation Dean and welcome to the Hall of Fame!
Nominated by Gabe Wand