james f. doherty
Born in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, on September 27, 1940, Jim Doherty, like many of today's top horsemen, got his start in the sport by helping his father, J. Frank Doherty. Jim Doherty, who began driving in 1956, 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, Doherty decided to give the mile oval a try. He has been one of the top drivers there ever since, with more than 1,600 wins and $20 million in earnings; he has the distinction of being one of only three drivers to have won a race at The Meadowlands every year it has been open.
In 1982, in the $519,000 New Jersey Classic for three-year-old Jersey-bred pacers, Doherty, driving Pitt Boy, a son of Escort, sat a strategically perfect trip to best McKinzie Almahurst and 2003 Hall of Famer No Nukes. The 1980s were a good decade for Duffy, as Doherty is affectionately known. He enjoyed success with the pacing mare Green With Envy, guiding her to back-to-back Older Pacing Mare of the Year honors in 1984 and 1985. During her four-year-old campaign, in 1984, the daughter of Meadow Skipper had 17 wins in 26 season's starts with earnings of almost $250,000. She captured the Roses Are Red and the Overbid Series final. As a five-year-old, Green With Envy won 11 times in 31 trips to the post, with earnings of $215,340. She won the Milton and scored 1:53.4 in an Overbid Series leg, a clocking which was a world record for an older pacing mare on a mile track. Green With Envy retired with 31 lifetime victories, 27 of those wins coming at The Meadowlands; this was a record for a mare. Another outstanding horse Doherty regularly delivered to the winner's circle was No Nonsense Woman, winner of the Goldsmith Maid, the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final and the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund. During her 1997 campaign, No Nonsense Woman emerged as the best filly in her class. She had 14 wins and three seconds in 17 trips to the post, with earnings of $838,563. She captured a Breeders Crown final, the Delvin Miller Memorial, the Matron, World Filly Trotting Derby and the Colonial Lady. In a near unanimous selection, she was awarded top sophomore trotting filly honors in the 1997 Dan Patch Awards ballot.
In 1998, Doherty sent out the freshman trotting colt Starchip Entrprise. The youngster prevailed over Self Possessed in the Valley Victory final, beating him by a one and three-quarter length triumph in a season's best time of 1:56. He also won a division of the Harriman Cup and came in second in the Peter Haughton Memorial, a neck back from Enjoy Lavec. The next year, Starchip Entrprise captured the Canadian Trotting Classic in a lifetime best of 1:54. Unfortunately, injury forced him to prematurely end what was looking to be a brilliant racing career. That same year, 1999, Doherty drove Lovelytobehold to a win in the Delvin Miller Final and the Helen Smith Memorial. For the past two years, Fool's Goal, who is fast approaching the $2 million plateau, has been Jim Doherty's top trotter. During his five-year-old campaign in 2000, he picked up 5 wins in 14 season's starts and earnings of almost $100,000. At the ripe old 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 although he also won the Titan and a leg of the Su Mac Lad and a Maple Leaf Trotting Classic elimination. In September 2002, Fool's Goal returned to Mohawk and in a driving rain storm took the Maple Leaf final; this time he picked up $C851,000 and a 1:53.1 clocking, despite starting from post twelve in the second tier. Fool's Goal's earnings that year totaled $1.277 million. For these achievements he picked up the Dan Patch Award as the top older trotting male in the sport and led to Doherty receiving the Glen Garnsey Memorial Trainer of the Year award from the United States Harness Writers Association. Other up-and-coming performers for Doherty include Chip's Nino who took the 2001 American National in a dead heat with Kadabra and Garrets Town who was first in the Niatross.
Jimmy Doherty passed away in 2015.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 2003 Souvenir Journal