By John Manzi
MONTICELLO Who knew that Jimmy Marohn was half-Italian, other than him and his son, Jimmy Jr.?
But he is his mom was the former Bridget Circo and when Jon Lione, who was programmed to drive Flying Aftermidnite was unable to be at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday, Aug. 26 for the Godfather Pace, the eighth and final leg of the track’s year-long Heritage Drivers Series, Marohn was a last-minute substitute.
And for owner John Stubits and trainer Carl Wellman, the change paid dividends for them because Marohn, who is also known as “The Mighty Mite,” got their pacer up in the final strides to win Monticello Raceway’s event for drivers of Italian descent in a time of 2:01.4.
When asked why he never said that he was part Italian, Marohn shot back lightheartedly, “Nobody ever asked me.”
The little man, who always has a wonderful devil-may-care attitude, joked in the winner’s circle after his victory by saying, with tongue in cheek, “I gave them a chance.”
Marohn meant that he trailed the field for most of the mile and was even in fifth place at the top of the lane until he got after Flying Aftermidnite and the pacer charged home and collared Climb The Ladder, who was going all out under strong urging from driver Johnny DeSimone. Only a nose separated the two horses at the finish.
Third place went to Merle’s Boy, who was driven by Todd Marciano.
Sent off as the second choice in the betting, Flying Aftermidnite scored his sixth victory of the season and returned a $5.70 win mutuel.
With his victory, Marohn has earned a berth in the Heritage Drivers Series finale which will be presented in early October.
And Marohn’s entrance into that event sets up a confrontation with his son, Jimmy Jr., who won the St. Paddy Pace for drivers of Irish heritage back in March.
The Heritage Drivers Series final, dubbed the “All-America Pace,” will feature the winning drivers of each of the series’ eight preliminary legs.