A rough trip to the win
MONTICELLO August 6, 2013 For Bruce Aldrich Jr. the beat goes on. Monticello Raceway’s driving leader reined four more winners on Wednesday’s program and now has 229 for the current meet. When that total is added to his seasonal resume, Aldrich has 340 wins which ranks him tied for sixth in wins on the North American leaderboard.
“I’m having the best season of my career,” Aldrich said. “Now that I’ve given-up training I can concentrate more on my driving.”
For many years, Aldrich had the biggest stable on the grounds at The Mighty M and for the first decade of the 21st Century through 2009 he won more races than any other driver, although he only registered one driving title driving that period. He did, however, win top honors here again in 2010 and in 2011, and in his illustrious career, he has currently reined 4,445 winners.
With five months remaining this season, Aldrich has a very good chance to top his best season which was during 2010 when he won 451 races.
“I’m very lucky to be able to drive ‘live’ horses for some of the top trainers at both Monticello and Saratoga,” he said. “But, let me tell you, it’s hard work racing at both tracks, many times on the same days.”
For Aldrich to drive horses in the afternoons at Monticello Raceway and then head north to Saratoga Harness for night time action, he puts plenty of miles on his car.
“I try to stay on the Interstate as much as possible and although the route I take from Monticello to Saratoga is a little longer, I’m always on four-lane highways the way I go,” Aldrich explains.
Aldrich figures his one-way trip is almost 180 miles.
“With each track’s racing schedule I only have to travel that distance two or three times a week. But let me tell you, it wears you down,” he added.
Aldrich hustles up the highways when he’s driving on both cards, sometimes cutting out from the Mighty M before the entire program is completed.
“I have to do that sometimes,” he said referring to occasionally not driving in the late races at Monticello. “It takes me well over two hours to get to Saratoga and they start at 7:30 p.m., so I don’t have much down time.”
On Wednesday, both Monticello and Saratoga had racing cards and Aldrich stayed until the 13th race at Monticello to drive Jazz Band to a 1:56.1 victory his fourth on the card for trainer Bob Lounsbury.
“I got a late start, but Bob puts me on all his horses so I wanted to stay and drive for him yesterday, even though it would make me late getting to Saratoga,” he admitted.
Aldrich didn’t drive at Saratoga until the fourth race on Wednesday and he did win a race there.
“The judges work with me as long as I keep them notified as to where I am and what time I’ll be there,” he added.
“It’s a grueling schedule but I’m doing what I love to do driving horses.”