Jim Doherty Passes; Arrangements Set

Published: March 14, 2015 08:21 pm EDT

Trot Insider has learned that Harness Racing Hall of Fame horseman James Francis 'Jim' Doherty passed away peacefully at Villa Marie Claire Hospice in New Jersey on March 14, 2015 at the age of 74.

Doherty, a native of Saint John, New Brunswick, was a top Meadowlands driver for decades and developed numerous champions including $3 million earner Fools Goal, who was named the 2002 U.S. Trotter of the Year, as well as 1997 Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year No Nonsense Woman, and Starchip Entrprise, winner of the Valley Victory and Canadian Trotting Classic in the late 1990s. He also drove Green With Envy, two-time Older Pacing Mare of the Year in 1984 and 1985. Throughout his career, Doherty drove winners of 4,620 races and nearly $39 million in purses.

Doherty was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York in 2003. He was also a member of the New England Harness Writers Hall of Fame, New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, and the Saint John Sports Hall of Fame.

His illustrious career began in 1955, and with support from his father and the late Milton Downey, he quickly became a leading driver in Atlantic Canada. Doherty went on to enjoy success on the tough Foxboro and Rockingham circuit before relocating to The Meadowlands when it opened in 1976. Doherty earned over $1 million in purses as a driver for the next 15 consecutive years.

He was named the Glen Garnsey Memorial Trainer of the Year in 2002 and was also named the New Jersey Sports Writers Association's Man of the Year in 2007.

Known as a true gentleman and consistent producer of top racehorses, Doherty remained active in harness racing driving winners up until 2013 and had trained back $700,000 earner Whata Winner this year.

Doherty is survived by his wife, Marianne (Cinek) Doherty and sons James Francis III (Jodie) and Michael Erin Doherty; grandchildren Christopher, Laura, Jamie, Cadence and Clancy; brother William (Rita); sisters Mary Murphy (William), Martina Shannon (Donald), Patricia Loughery (Merrill), Anne Gilbride (Paul) and Evelyn Doherty; sister-in-law Roxanne Doherty; numerous nieces and nephews; grandnieces and grandnephews; mother-in-law Lillian Cinek and sister-in-law Christina MacGilvray (Scott).

He was predeceased by parents James Francis Doherty and Anna Mary (Clancy) Doherty; and his younger brothers Peter and Paul.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, March 20 at 10:15 a.m. at the Bizub-Quinlan Funeral Home, 1313 Van Houten Ave., Clifton with a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. at St. Andrew the Apostle RC Church, 400 Mt. Prospect Ave., Clifton. Private cremation to follow with interment of ashes to follow at a later date.

Visitation will be Wednesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on both days. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice. Please visit www.bizub.com for driving directions and online condolences.

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of Jim Doherty.



My condolences to the Doherty family. Mr. Jim Doherty my afternoon spent with you at Clinton Raceway on Legend's day 2013 will always be a day I will never forget. To be in the same picture as you, in the trotting magazine, will be a lasting memory I'll cherish.

A great friend - a great horseman - and a great human being. May he Rest In Peace. Deepest condolences to Marianne and family. John & Evy Raedler, Minneapolis

Jim was one of the best. He would always visit my Uncle Hazen Kirkpatrick when he visited Saint john. My condolences go out to his brothers and sisters and all his relatives.

Bill Nicholson Jr.

The world has lost one of the finest people I have known, Jim was the ultimate horseman, driver, gentleman and friend. He always visited my father when he came home to Saint John and they discused great memories. A true friend who was always willing to help with great advice and treated us royally when we visited the Meadowlands. In life there are a few people that go unforgotten after their passing, Jim is one.
My sincere condolences to Bill, Mary, Don, Jim Jr, Mike and the rest of his family.

Rest in peace my friend.

Jim was a great horseman and a great person. He always had time to stop and chat and to assist anyone who needed his help. I got to know Jim and Marianne many years ago. This was when brother Paul was buying hay from me and shipping it to the Meadowlands. This was during the good days of Deweycheatemnhow when Paul was Ray Schnittker's first trainer. Dewey got to spent some time at Mardon Stables in Loretto preparing for his Canadian Events. Then the sad days a couple of years later when we lost Paul at a way to young age. Jim was a great help to Roxanne thru the difficult days after Paul's death as were his sisters from New Brunswick.
My sincere condolences to Marianne, Jim's two sons and to all his sisters and to Roxanne Doherty.
Rest in Peace Jim. You certainly will be missed..

My heart felt condolences go out to Jim's wife Marianne and his family. It was an honor to call him my friend and mentor. He was nicknamed Gentleman Jim for good reason.He touched the hearts of many in his time with us. RIP my friend.

Our condolences to the Doherty family. Harness racing has lost one of the finest individuals to ever participate in the industry. Jimmy was indeed a special person, not only was he incredibly talented but extremely humble. Our family was blest to have Jimmy in our lives.
Stephen and Patty Downey on behalf of the Downey family.

I met Gentleman Jim on a few occasions at the Meadowlands for a few drinks, such a great man, even though I have to say in my hazy recollections thought he was 74 then, but a nicer man you could not have met, RIP Jim, condolences to family and friends, have to admit I made quite a bit of money with his horses, especially Green With Envy, took a date to the Meadowlands to bet her, she ended up being my wife.

For anyone who ever met Jim you already understand how much we will miss him and remember what he stood for in harness racing. Jim was a great horseman with admirable qualities of INTEGRITY and HONESTY with a genuine kindness always willing to help everyone.

I remember our frequent meetings not only at the track to discuss our horses, but also for a meal after the races. I believe Jim was a very good person who gives all of us a standard, in which to lead our lives.

Often I remember Jim driving horses, until late at night at the track, and then being at the barn early the next morning. He not only made horses better, but also everyone who interacted with him.

Rest in Peace Gentleman Jim - WE will continue to remember ...

A class guy and unassuming, yet one of the greats. They don't make horsemen like him anymore. He will be missed. RIP Jim

As others have said elsewhere, Jim was a great horseman and an even greater human being.
I'll forever cherish our early morning breakfasts at the Marriott Hotel (now the Sheraton) in Harrisburg each morning prior to that day's sale.
Jim and I were early risers and we would open the restaurant, often being the only ones there. Together we would discuss, reminisce and go through a multitude of subjects both relating to and outside of Harness Racing.
I will forever cherish those meetings.
Rest in Peace my good friend. No one has earned it more than you.

A true gentleman, so glad that Tracey and I got to spend some good times with him. Our sympathies go out to family and fellow friends. RIP