Joe DeFrank became addicted to harness racing as a youngster at Batavia Downs, near his home in Holly, New York. There he met his mentor and longtime friend Don D'Andrea, who later recommended to 1985 Hall of Famer Jim Lynch that DeFrank be given a chance as an assistant in the race office at Hilliards Raceway, Ohio in 1956. Four years later DeFrank had already taken entries at Baltimore Raceway, Green Mountain Park, Grandview, Northfield, The Meadows, Painesville, Windsor, Freehold, Brandywine and Ponce DeLeon. He moved to The Meadowlands in 1976 where he introduced the Meadowlands Pace, the sport's first million-dollar race and the Woodrow Wilson, which grew to a purse of more than $2 million. Added to these events was the Hambletonian Stake. When Garden State Park opened in 1985, Joe DeFrank was appointed racing secretary in addition to his responsibilities at the Meadowlands.
Joe DeFrank passed away on December 12, 2020 at the age of 87.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's Hall of Fame kiosks