Magic City History

This webpage highlights some of the fascinating history of Magic City which started as West Flagler Kennel Club and later was referred to as Fabulous Flagler and Flagler as the city of Miami expanded further west. In the early days, West Flagler Kennel Club even had some “hurdle races” for greyhounds. Also, the Flagler complex would be packed with fans when a California couple came into town with their fascinating greyhound racing show which featured small trained monkey jockeys riding on the backs of greyhounds. The crowds were quite entertained by this and came by the thousands to watch these specialized races!

Flagler became known as a Racino (racetrack and casino) when Casino-style gambling was added to the entertainment options, and then in 2018 Flagler converted their greyhound racing license to a Jai-Alai fronton within the Magic City Casino and began offering Jai-Alai games using Jai-Alai players mostly consisting of many former local college athletes including athletes from the University of Miami who were trained by professionals to play the game of Jai-Alai. Magic City Jai-Alai is an evolving short-court American Jai-Alai program conceived by Scott Savin and has rapidly become a highly successful entertainment option at the Magic City Casino in Miami, Florida.

A “traditional” long-court American Jai-Alai court is around 175-180 feet in length while the short-court at Magic City Jai-Alai is 120-feet in length to fit an existing footprint at the Magic City Casino. The short-court version of Jai-Alai is not new to amateurs and Jai-Alai players in the US as North Miami Amateur fronton has a short-court version at that facility. The “short-court” version of the game was also played in Barcelona and Cuba at least 100-years ago at the Habana-Madrid frontons. Thanks to Scott Savin for helping to save the sport of Jai-Alai from fading away from the American landscape where Jai-Alai frontons have been in existence for nearly 100 years. The interesting story behind the start of Magic City can be seen by watching the movie “The Magic City Hustle.”

Magic City is the only greyhound racing track that has ever converted from greyhound racing to offering Jai-Alai games. The Melbourne Jai-Alai (aka Brevard) was actually converted from a Jai-Alai to a greyhound track. Magic City is a unique Jai-Alai court with super hard tempered see-through glass panels for the front and back wall of the playing court.

Magic City Casino & Jai-Alai is quite a magical place and easily understood why it’s called Magic City! Hundreds of slot machines and Vegas-style games, big payoffs for Jai-Alai and slots, big money Jai-Alai singles and doubles tournaments, and lots of promotions along with big names in music and comedy and great food options make Magic City the south Florida magical destination to see!

Now Magic City has even started a new type of Jai-Alai games with sports betting on these games, called H2H, or Head-to-Head Jai-Alai matches, which are similar to the scoring method used in tennis matches. These H2H matches are in addition to the usual pari-mutuel style of games with wagering. More states are becoming approved for sports wagering on Jai-Alai games and it’s rapidly growing in popularity. The sports betting games for 2022 are called “Battle Court H2H” and make their 2022 debut on February 14, the day after the NFL Super Bowl.

Magic City Jai-Alai is the home to the first annual site of the U.S. National Jai-Alai Championship, an annual tournament for US citizens only with singles and doubles matches for both amateurs and professionals, with big cash prizes. The first annual tournament started in 2020. A new type of big money Jai-Alai tournament makes its debut in 2022 at Magic City called “World Super Court” and is open to all nationalities.

The Sports Club at Magic City Casino is an excellent place to watch and wager on Jai-alai, greyhounds, harness and thoroughbred horse racing from across the country. No visit to South Florida is complete without stopping at Magic City Casino and Jai-alai in Miami! Currently in 2022, Magic City Jai-Alai is the ONLY remaining fronton in the USA offering live Jai-Alai with wagering on Jai-Alai games.

Shown above are photos of greyhound racing programs from the current site of Magic City Casino which cover the span of nearly 60-years of greyhound racing history at this location. The oldest racing program featured above is from the 1937 West Flagler Kennel Club, a near mint condition item of Miami greyhound racing memorabilia from more than 80-years ago.

Here are a group of West Flagler postcards from the 1930’s into the 1950’s. Also shown is a photo of a West Flagler bullet pencil and the front and back side of a 50-cent admission token.

Copyright 2020