It's been a year long battle for leading harness racing driver honors at Monticello Raceway. Although Bruce Aldrich, Jr. has led the pack for a good portion of the season, veteran Billy 'Zeke' Parker, Jr. would then get on a tear and take command for a while. Then Aldrich would win a multitude of races and regain command.
It went that way for the past three months with the lead going back and forth. But two weeks ago Aldrich got extremely hot and vaulted ahead by 17 wins and although Parker rattled back with a four bagger last Wednesday at the start of this week Aldrich was still up by 13 wins …361 to 348.
However after a three-win afternoon on Monday and then an impressive six-win day on the muddy afternoon of November 29 Aldrich might be saying bye-bye Billy. And though Parker won two races on November 29 he now finds himself trailing Aldrich by 17 wins. And while it may not be an insurmountable lead Parker has just 19 race dates to make up the difference. And Aldrich will be battling him the entire way.
November 29th at the Mighty M was one of the toughest racing days of the season with the steady rain pouring down and the extremely muddy racing surface to negotiate.
Parker jumped out with a victory in the third race when he reined Bilmar Rustler home first in 1:59 and Aldrich didn’t get untracked until the fifth when he scored with Donnie Bop in 1:59.4. He then won the sixth with Richess King in 2:01 and after Parker won the seventh it appeared that ‘nip-and-tuck battle’ was to continue but after the “Brucester” won the 10th and he then proceeded to win the remaining races on the card. He reined Real Mystical to a 1:57.1 triumph in the 10th then won the 11th with Tattoo Hall in1:59.4; the 12th with Art Glass in 1:58.3; and the finale behind Borilla in 2:00.
“I started slow but finished strong,” a happy but mud- caked Bruce Aldrich Jr. said at the end of the racing program. “I had some live mounts but let me tell you it was one of the toughest days to be driving because it was so hard to see where you’re going. The footing was good but the track was about as muddy as I’ve ever seen it.”
Asked if he could now say ‘bye-bye Billy’ referring to his lengthening lead over Parker with just a month remaining before the 2011 season ends , he shot back: “Are you kidding? Zeke is capable of winning five or six races any day and then if he does he’d be right back in it. Parker didn’t get lucky winning over 10,000 races, you know. He’s still as good a driver as he ever was.”