BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Monday, February 3, 2014--So, there was driver Ron Pierce, going back home to New Jersey after a very successful and profitable Yonkers Raceway weekend...as in a pair of wins Friday night and a happy half-dozen Saturday.
"I was talking to a friend of mine, and he said, 'Do you realize you made more money in the last two nights than in the last month at the Meadowlands?' "
Right there, Pierce decided on a change of venue.
"I'm going to drive Yonkers Fridays and Saturdays until the beginning of the Grand Circuit season," he said. "I know the Meadowlands isn't going to like it, but I have to go where I can get more live drives.
"I did very well there, and that was mainly with pick-up drives," Pierce said. "If I can starting having choices, I think I can do even better.”
For his Hall of Fame credentials--more than 9,000 wins and nearly $204 million in purses--the 57-year-old Pierce has never been a Yonkers Raceway regular. In fact, before the weekend, he hadn't paid a visit since March of 2013. That is not to say he hasn't enjoyed his share of Yonkers success (a pair of Yonkers Trots, two Messenger Stakes a final of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, among his highlights).
Ironically, his original impetus for the weekend Yonkers trip paid just a few dividends.
"With the Meadowlands closed, owner Martin Scharf asked me to come over and two of his horses, and I figured, why not? The trotter, Harbor Point, didn't even get in (Friday) and the pacer (Dovuto Hanover) didn't get over the track at all (third in Saturday's Open).
"I just want owners and trainers to know I'm committed to driving there, and being aggressive,” Pierce said. “If I wanted to sit, I'd sit at home."
The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily.