Winning races is nothing new for Bruce Aldrich, Jr. He wins plenty of ‘em. Many days he has three or four winners on a race card but when he wins five it deserves notice.
That’s exactly what Aldrich did at the Mighty M on Tuesday afternoon, October 14. He won two, DC’s Piggy Bank and Mixed Media, for trainer Bob Lounsbury who always uses Aldrich to drive his stock. Other winners were King Otra (1:55.4) for trainer Dave Russo; Riverboat Sue (1:58.4) for Eric Taddeo and one, What Rusty (1:56.4), for Elisha Lafreniere.
Aldrich again tops the Monticello Raceway driver’s leaderboard, something that has become synonymous with his name. Currently his 275 winners are tops and are 79 more than runner-up Jimmy Devaux’s, 196.
Aldrich came to Monticello in 1999 and over the first decade of the 21st Century he won more races than any other driver here, even more than Billy “Zeke” Parker, Jr. Since then Aldrich has a streak of three consecutive years—assuming his big lead will hold up by year’s end- winning the Mighty M driving title and he’s won five title here in the last six years. .
But for Aldrich his seasonal stats began bulging when he gave up training and just concentrated on driving. That happened in mid- 2012 after he moved his base of operations to Saratoga Springs, NY where he bought a farm and became a regular at Saratoga Raceway. That year he finished the entire season with 289 winners.
The following year Aldrich started the season here and was the leader in races won at Monticello Raceway, but when Saratoga Raceway - his new home track—opened in the early spring he decided to race at both Monticello and Saratoga. And that’s been his MO since.
Aldrich admits driving at two tracks, mostly on the same days, is grueling, especially when they are 145 miles apart. And that Monticello races during the afternoon and Saratoga mostly at night, would this venue even be possible.
However, no longer is Bruce Aldrich just a regional stalwart, he has become a national contender. In mid-December last year we put together a driving competition between Aldrich and the then national leader, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. whose home track is Northfield Park in greater Cleveland, Ohio.
When Wrenn graciously agreed to participate we decided to call the competition the Aldrich-Wrenn Drive-off.
Nothing unusual there you say? Well how about that after the 13 races were put together by director of racing Eric Warner and the post positions drawn, each driver-with the Racing Board’s sanction -- would choose his own mount in every other race. And although the only winner was the racing public as they enjoyed the driving talents of two premier reinsmen, Aldrich finished with six winners and Wrenn had won four.
Brucester, as I call him, had a hot-hand until the curtain came down on the 2013 season, so much so, that he finished the year tied for second—with Dave Palone- in races won (645) in North America behind Ronnie Wrenn Jr’s 714.
This year again, Aldrich,46, is a factor. Currently his 471 winners ranks him in sixth place on the North American leaderboard. Still that puts him ahead of such steadfast reinsmen as Yannick Gingris(451 wins), Corey Callahan (429); Jason Bartlett (427) and Tim Tetrick (397). For the record Ronnie Wrenn Jr is battling for the lead with Aaron Merriman and currently trails him by 16 wins, 645-629.
Earlier this season, on June 23, Aldrich reined his 5000th career winner and as of this writing his total is now 5221.