Monticello, NY --- When Monticello Raceway presents its 13th annual St. Paddy Pace on Wednesday (March 13), they’ll have an honest-to-goodness Irishman in the race in the presence of Dublin native ‘Irish’ Joe Hanney, who’ll headline the event.
Hanney, 30, came to North America in 2007 so he could pursue his harness racing career.
|USTA/Ken Weingartner photo|
|'Irish' Joe Hanney will drive in the St. Paddy Pace at Monticello.|
“Harness racing is a small industry back home,” Hanney told Harness Racing Communications' Ken Weingartner earlier this year. “Being single and not making any progress in Ireland I decided to make a move to North America. Initially I went to Canada but America is where everyone wants to be because that’s where all the top drivers and top trainers are.”
In the states he began working for top trainers and in 2012 he opened his own stable. Last year he won 17 races in 101 starts and finished with a respectable .263 UDR. This year he’s handling a 15-horse stable and competing at Freehold Raceway but longs to be a regular at the Meadowlands.
“I definitely look forward to going under the lights of the Big M; everybody wants to do that who drives a horse,” Hanney said. “I’ve driven there a few times already but I’m still looking for my first win there.”
Joining 'Irish' Joe will be former St. Paddy Pace winners Jimmy Marohn, Jr., John McDermott, Mike Doherty and Jimmy Taggart, Jr., who won last year's event with Prince Aidid in 2:00.
Other probable starters include Cory Stratton and Rick Harp.
Still eight drivers are needed to have a complete field. Any driver of Irish extraction who is interested in competing must contact Warner in the race office at Monticello Raceway by calling 845.794.4100, ext. 557, or they can contact the track’s publicity office at ext. 455.