Monticello, NY --- It’s easy to see how comfortable Bruce Aldrich, Jr. is at Monticello Raceway. On the wet and snowy card of Thursday (March 7) he won five races and now has sprinted away from last year’s champion, Jimmy Marohn, Jr., and leads him by nine driving victories, 63-54.
|Geri Schwarz photo|
|Bruce Aldrich, Jr. won five times on Thursday at Monticello.|
Aldrich began his assault in sterling fashion, winning the first three races on the 11-race card. He scored behind Don Brainard’s Dolly Dagger ($14.00) in 2:00.1 in the first and then reined Majestic View Farms' 4-year-old trotter Majestic Moment ($3.70) to his third consecutive victory in the second race. Aldrich’s hat trick triumph was with Art Jones’ He’s Great ($6.00) in 2:00.
Win number four came behind Al Annunziata’s trotter Konchie ($14.00) in 2:03.2 in race six and then Aldrich won the 11th and final race with Paul Felsher’s Multiple Choice ($4.90) in 2:00.1.
Contacted in the paddock after his third consecutive victory, Aldrich said he had four more drives on the card and then added, “If I get lucky I can win six today,” but he had to settle for just five trips to the winner's circle, which is a total that almost any driver would be proud of.
Now a resident and member of the Saratoga Harness driving colony, Aldrich spent the winter months competing over the Mighty M oval he knows so well. And his MO is different now than it was when he was a Monticello Raceway regular in that he just drives and leaves the training to others.
Aldrich, who found a home here in the late 1990s, reined 2,353 winners from 2000 through 2009, but over those years he copped just one driving title (2001) although he has been among the top three in races won nearly every season.
However, in 2010 Aldrich drove 449 winners, second best behind Zeke Parker’s track record 526 during 1995.
Then again, during the 2011 season, Aldrich added another 410 victories to his career total and now has driven 4,174 winners and his mounts have earned purses of $13,530,504.
“Although Saratoga (Springs) is home now I still want to race at Monticello on the days that Saratoga is dark,” Aldrich said. “I’ve been driving for some top trainers and maybe, if I can get enough starts, I can once again compete for another driving title here.”