It wasn't the fastest of times for Jimmy Marohn Jr., but winning Monticello Raceway's 13th annual St. Paddy Pace on Wednesday for the third time in the last five years was undoubtedly pleasurable.
"Hey, it's always fun to win a race and winning is something I never get tired of,” Marohn said unequivocally after his victory. "I've certainly had bigger wins but this one was especially fun because we had some good guys in the race.”
In the contest Marohn hustled the 8-year-old Jate Lobell gelding Best Of Times to the front after the gate sprung and made every pole a winning one en route to a 2:02 victory over Mike Doherty and Semplre Ribera. Third place went to Quiet Hero, driven by Anthony Haughan, the full-blooded Irishman who came in from Hamilton, Ontario, just to compete in what was the second leg of the Mighty M's Heritage Drivers Series which was exclusively for drivers of Irish heritage.
Marohn's decision to hustle his pacer to the lead proved to be the winning move.
"I knew from racing against them that a couple of the inside horses didn't leave well so I figured I'd go to the front and see what happens. I guess what actually happened was that I bottomed out the field with a :29 quarter and a :58 half.
"Yeah, my horse was tired at the end but so were the others, and being on the lead they had to catch us. They were coming at the end but they didn't beat us.”
For certain there have been faster times for Marohn and he certainly has driven better horses but he thoroughly enjoyed driving in this year's St. Paddy Pace.
"It's always good when you win but what made this race special was meeting and driving with the two fellows from Ireland.”
Marohn was referring to "Irish” Joe Hanney and Anthony Haughan, who are making a name for themselves in the sport since they migrated to North America a few years ago.
"I was really impressed with them,” Marohn said. "They're both good horsemen and (they) are truly dedicated to harness racing. It was a pleasure to race with them.”
In a race that figured to be very competitive, it became a breakaway with Best Of Times three or four lengths in front until the deep stretch when the field finally closed ground and charged at the leader. Still, Best Of Times had enough left to score a length victory, the pacer's first in nine seasonal outings.
Hanney finished fourth with Tidewater Moses and fifth place went to Cory Stratton with Eusebio. Jimmy Taggart Jr. finished sixth with Song Of The South while John McDermott was seventh with Syncro's Z Tam.
Best Of Times paid $13.80 for win. He's owned by the J&R Class Act Stable and is trained by Anthony Regina.
This year the race had a sponsor in Peter and Mary Grandich, who made the blanket and trophy presentation to the winner.
Next up in the Mighty M's Heritage Drivers Series 2013 is the 15th annual Passover Pace. Due to Passover coming early this year the ‘Race for the Matzos' will be on Thursday, March 28. (Monticello)