Husker Magic an All-American for third year in a row

Published March 4, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG — Husker Magic delivered glamour and glitz to Derby Lane kennel owners Jim and Kayruth Abernathy. Now, gratitude has followed her greatness.

Husker Magic, Derby Lane's retired all-time win leader, was chosen this week to the All-America first team for the third consecutive year — a feat shared by only six other greyhounds in more than a half-century. The announcement was made by American Greyhound Track Operators Association.

Joining Husker Magic on the eight-dog first team was Oya Stan The Man of D'Arcy kennel. Two Derby Lane athletes made the second team in Lego Andrew (Floyd kennel) and Mega Revelation (Burk Greyhounds). The All-America captain was Seldom Told of bestbet in Orange Park near Jacksonville.

"This is like putting a cherry on top of a cake," Jim Abernathy said. "It's just nice to say you had a dog that good once in your lifetime."

Husker Magic, a 550-yard speedster, raced from 2013-16. She sizzled in 2015, capturing a national win crown and two stakes titles (the Sprint Classic at Derby Lane, and the inaugural Daytona 550 National Championship at Daytona Beach Kennel Club). She also was voted All-America captain and Rural Rube award winner as the nation's top sprinter.

Her iconic moment came in 2016, when the soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter of Rhythmless and Casino Zada became the only dog in Derby Lane's 92 years with 100 lifetime victories. Husker Magic ended with 105 wins from 167 starts and earnings of $110,130. She was limited to 16 starts in 2016, closing with five consecutive victories — including her third and final stakes title in the T.L. Weaver Memorial Challenge. Derby Lane honored Husker Magic in 2016 by naming its $50,000 Fall Sprint Stakes after her.

Husker Magic is now a brood matron at the Grapevine, Ark., farm of Terry Haber, a member of the female's I Mark Kennels ownership group that includes Jim Abernathy and Arthur Kaufman of Sarasota.

The legacy of Husker Magic may not be complete. Since All-America selections began in 1963, Westy Whizzer (1964-66), Miss Whirl (1965-67), L.L.'s Doug (1967-69), Perceive (1981-83), Mo Kick (1991-93) and Ea's Itzaboy (2002-04) — the other three-time All-America first-team dogs — all received induction to the Greyhound Hall of Fame in Abilene, Kan.

"I hope she has a shot (for the Hall of Fame)," Abernathy said.

Oya Stan The Man, the 2016 St. Petersburg Derby winner, had one track win title and a meet-best 660-yard clocking. His time of 36.66 seconds was close to the track record of 36.53 by Jr's Boy in 2006. Oya Stan the Man, a 32-month-old male from a litter by Defrim Bale and O Ya Norma, now races at Southland Park in West Memphis, Ark., for owner Gary Reicherts of Osage, Iowa.

"When you look at what he achieved for the year, he fully deserved (All-America status)," kennel owner Mick D'Arcy said. "And Husker Magic certainly deserved it, too."

MORE DOGS: The $64,000 Sprint Classic finale is in Race 10 at 9:47 p.m. Saturday.