Freehold, NJ —
Killeen, 18, moved to the United States from Ireland last summer, and recorded his first pari-mutuel win at his home base of the Meadows back in October. He guided Ray Ahto’s Major Humor to victory at 3-1, with a dramatic closing rally.
A duel developed early in the race, as Freehold-based Irish Joe Hanney and Black Hammer kept George Brennan and favored Dalton Did It parked out near the lead.
Dalton Did It tired from his early exertions, and Black Hammer opened up a big lead around the final turn. In the last sixteenth of a mile, Black Hammer’s strides began to shorten, and Major Humor came flying on the outside late to get up in the last few strides.
Black Hammer held on for second, with Hilarious Handsome and Ron Burke finishing third, and Bell’s Panacea and Bobby Bresnahan coming in fourth. The order of finish was rounded out by Juliana the Baron with Jim Marohn Jr, Huxley with Jim Marshall III, Blue Strike with Steve Smith, and Dalton Did it and Brennan.
Following the race, St. Paddy’s Day Pace sponsor Peter Grandich and former New York Jets quarterback Ray Lucas presented Major Humor with a special commemorative blanket in the winner’s circle. Earlier in the day, Lucas signed photos for early-arriving Freehold guests.
Live racing resumes on Friday (March 22), with a first post time of 12:30 p.m.