03/14/2015 8:49PM

Harness: Hall of Famer Jim Doherty, 74, dies

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Jim Doherty was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.

Hall of Fame driver/trainer Jim Doherty passed peacefully at the Villa Marie Claire Hospice on March 14, 2015, according to family members. Arrangements are under the care of Bizub-Quinlan Funeral Home, Clifton, New Jersey.

Mr. Doherty, 74, from Canada, got his start in the sport by helping his father in New Brunswick. He came to New England in the mid-1960s and soon established himself as a top driver in that area, battling Ted Wing for regional driving supremacy throughout the first half of the 1970s.

When The Meadowlands opened in 1976, Mr. Doherty decided to give the mile oval a try. He was one of the top drivers there for many years, with more than 1,600 wins and $20 million in earnings in his Meadowlands career.

During the 1980s, Mr. Doherty enjoyed a lot of success with the pacing mare Green With Envy. He guided her to back-to-back Older Pacing Mare of the Year honors in 1984 and 1985.

Mr. Doherty returned to the limelight thanks to a trio of outstanding trotters in No Nonsense Woman, Starchip Entrprise and Fool’s Goal. As a freshman in 1996, the Sierra Kosmos distaffer No Nonsense Woman had seven wins in 11 starts, with earnings of $288,573. Her biggest victory came when Mr. Doherty steered her to a wire-to-wire triumph in the $302,900 Goldsmith Maid Final. During the 1997 campaign, No Nonsense Woman emerged as the best horse in her class. She had 14 wins and three seconds in 17 trips to the post, with earnings of $838,563. She captured the $438,750 Breeders Crown Final, the $320,000 Delvin Miller Memorial Final, the $134,762 Matron, the $130,000 World Filly Trotting Derby, and the $100,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Final. It came as no surprise that No Nonsense Woman was a near unanimous selection in the Dan Patch Awards balloting as the top sophomore trotting filly in the sport.

In 1998 Mr. Doherty sent out the freshman trotting colt Starchip Entrprise. The bay son of Pine Chip was in the money in eight of his 12 season’s starts, with four wins and earnings of $374,684. His biggest victory came in the $343,400 Valley Victory Final. He also overcame post nine to finish second in the $458,000 Peter Haughton Memorial Final, a neck back of Enjoy Lavec. With expectations high for his sophomore campaign, Starchip Entrprise got off to a good start when he captured the $480,800 Canadian Trotting Classic Final in a lifetime best 1:54. Unfortunately, it was the lone highlight of a 1999 season that would be curtailed in August when Starchip Entrprise broke a coffin bone while racing in a Townsend Ackerman division at The Meadowlands. That injury forced him to prematurely end his racing career.

Another top trotter in the Doherty Stable was the gelding Fool’s Goal. He enjoyed a terrific season in 2001 at the age of six. He banked $434,300 on the strength of four wins in 18 season’s starts. He was at his best in the $500,000 Nat Ray Final at The Meadowlands, defeating Dr Ronerail in a time of 1:53. Fool’s Goal also won the $243,000 Titan Cup Final that year.

During his 7-year-old season in 2002, he broke the bank with earnings of $1,277,640, thanks to seven wins, three seconds, and one third in 15 starts. Fool’s Goal was in fine form in the $1 million Breeders Crown Final, defeating Plesac in a time of 1:51 3/5, equaling his lifetime mark which was set a month earlier in the $225,000 Titan Cup Final. Other big victories in 2002 came in the $536,130 Maple Leaf Trotting Classic Final and the $200,000 Cutler Memorial Final. At season’s end, Fool’s Goal earned a Dan Patch Award as the top older trotting male in the sport and led to Mr. Doherty receiving the Glen Garnsey Memorial Trainer of the Year award from the United States Harness Writers’ Association.

Still going strong in 2003 as an 8-year-old, Fool’s Goal finished in the money nine times in 11 trips behind the gate, banking $639,363. He was at his best in the $800,000 Breeders Crown Final, defeating Victory Sam in a time of 1:52.4.

He finished with 35 lifetime wins and earnings of $3,057,070.

In the summer of 2003, Mr. Doherty was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York.

-edited release --USTA Communications Department

 

Arthur More than 1 year ago
I remember many a night at Rochingham Park and standing outside in freezing weather watching Jim Doherty win many a race .
Alan Dvorkis More than 1 year ago
One of the true gentlemen in the game. I grew up watching him at Foxboro Raceway. I remember he took time to help me get ready for an owners race. No big deal, except he was in the next race. The post parade was delayed. Sad day for harness racing.
jose More than 1 year ago
A GREAT GUY.REMEMBER THE GOOD OLD DAYS AT THE MEADOWLAND WITH SUCH DRIVERS AS JIMMY.REST IN PEACE JIM.
Marc Rogala More than 1 year ago
Rest in peace had many of great nights at the meadowlands with you in the scully