Campbellville, ON --- Jimmy Marohn Jr. has been making a name for himself in the state of New York, but Saturday night he’ll be looking to establish himself on the sport’s biggest stage at Mohawk.
Marohn, 32, has been driving race horses for more than 12 years, but in the C$457,500 Fan Hanover Stakes, on the Pepsi North America Cup undercard, he will have the biggest drive of his career, leaving from post three with elimination winner Table Talk.
|Geri Schwarz photo|
|Jimmy Marohn Jr. will drive Table Talk in the Fan Hanover final.|
Marohn has been around the sport his entire life. His father, Jimmy Marohn Sr., has been a prominent driver for decades in New York and New Jersey and his son Jimmy grew up by his side.
“I grew up around the horses, my dad had a barn when I was really small and he primarily catch drove at Roosevelt and Yonkers and I was always around the barn,” said Marohn. “We had moved to New Jersey and then I was about five minutes from the Meadowlands and I got to cut my teeth on the backstretch there growing up.”
The elder Marohn has won more than 5,000 races in his career and he recorded many of his best seasons while his son was growing up. The younger Marohn always had the itch for racing, but knew for sure when he was a teenager, becoming a driver was the career path for him.
“I was always into sports my whole life,” said Marohn, “but I would say about my later part of high school was when I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
Marohn immediately showed promise as a driver when he finished second in his first career drive at Pocono Downs with a pacer named External Heat. A little over a month later the two reunited to give Marohn his first pari-mutuel victory.
Since that first victory, Marohn has seen his star rise each racing season. The reinsman has made a name for himself over the years as a top driver at Colonial Downs, Tioga Downs and Monticello Raceway.
Last year, he captured his third straight Tioga Downs driving title and won the $25,000 Tioga/Vernon Drivers Challenge against some of the top reinsmen in the sport including Tim Tetrick and Brian Sears.
A regular work week for Marohn is driving at Monticello Raceway Monday to Thursday and racing at Tioga Downs Friday to Sunday. The seven-day work week is tough on Marohn and his family, he admits.
“I’m on the road a lot. I’m home during the week, but then on the weekends I’ll go up to Tioga,” said Marohn. “Being away from the family is tough; my wife and I just had a daughter and it’s tough to be away from her right now.”
The opportunity to drive horses like Table Talk in the Fan Hanover final may open up doors for Marohn to not have to drive seven days a week and have the chance to fulfill a dream by racing on the Grand Circuit.
“I race everyday in overnights and I always go to the Sires Stakes whenever I get the opportunities, too, but this is one of the ultimate dreams, going around on the Grand Circuit.”
|New Image Media photo|
|Table Talk defeated Major Dancer by a neck in their Fan Hanover elimination last Saturday.|
In the elimination, Marohn and Table Talk registered a 37-1 shocker. He noted his filly had some issues off the gate, but once she settled down at the quarter pole he knew he had a chance.
“Going to the five-eighths when the flow started I was still sitting last and gapped about a length and a half. I was just kind of scoping things out to see what I was going to do, go into the flow or just sit the wood,” said Marohn. “I decided to sit the wood going into the last turn and watching Precocious (Beauty) through the last turn when Doug (McNair) started to call on her she really didn’t look like she stepped up too well. I still had the out where I could of went to the outer tier and just coming off the last turn that’s what I did and my filly, she really likes to sprint and that’s just what she did.”
The drive in the elimination was Marohn’s first time racing at Mohawk and he liked what he saw.
“It’s gorgeous, the crowd here is very impressive,” said Marohn. “The people that are all out on the apron and in the grandstand, they seem like they are all racing fans.”
The victory made his first trip to Mohawk extra sweet, but also gave him the valuable opportunity to select his post position for the final. Marohn knows the final will be tough, but is thrilled to have the chance to race in it.
“They are all good. You can’t take anything away from Uffizi Hanover. She won the Breeders Crown last year, she’s an all out nice filly and you know just to be in with these horses is an honor.”
Marohn has just under 2,500 wins in his career and purse earnings of more than $11 million. Whether or not he adds to those totals Saturday night, Jimmy Marohn Jr.’s stock is rising fast and it appears to be only a matter of time before he is a regular on the Grand Circuit.
Race 9-$457,500 Fan Hanover Stakes Final
1. Nat A Virgin-Rick Zeron
2. Uffizi Hanover-David Miller
3. Table Talk-Jimmy Maraohn Jr.
4. Take That Hanover-Mike Saftic
5. Bahama Blue-Mario Baillargeon
6. Mamas Fallen Angel-Yannick Gingras
7. Fancy Desire-Ron Pierce
8. Rock N Roll Xample-James MacDonald
9. Major Dancer-Brian Sears
10. Beach Gal-Tim Tetrick
AE. Lady Shadow-Brian Sears