Last Wednesday, September 28, at Monticello Raceway harness racing driver Zeke Parker was dumped-out in a racing accident and although not seriously hurt he did, however, sustain cuts and bruises.
Though far from life-threatening Parker took himself off the 12 horses he was to drive on Thursday, after all being 58 years old now, he doesn’t recuperate as easily as he would have when he was decades younger.
His involvement in the “battle” for leading driver here had to take a backseat to his being able to perform at the top-notch level that has seen him record over 10,500 career driving victories.
“I was a little sore and didn’t want to rush back. The track seems a lot harder now at 58 than it was when I was 25,” Parker said with a laugh.
However, Parker was undaunted by being out of action when Aldrich was able to drive the card on Thursday. But Aldrich, who seems to be taking the “battle” more seriously than Zeke, made the best of the opportunity and reined home five winners which at weeks end that placed him two wins ahead of Parker 291-289.
“I was sorry to see Zeke unseated and I was certainly glad he didn’t get hurt,” Aldrich said. “But I don’t feel bad about winning races when he’s not driving. After all, it takes a big effort to outdo Zeke. He’s one the all-time best.”
Aldrich is correct in his assessment of Parker and his driving ability. As of October 4th Parker has reined 10,527—ninth best all-time in the sport-- and except for a few seasons when he finished with universal driving ratings of under .300 an overwhelming number has been much higher over the 34 years he has been driving with a .400UDR his lifetime best during the 1995 campaign.
Back in action on Monday, October 3 Parker picked up where he left off and scored four winners. His first victoryr was with Diana Bartells, Keystone Endurance, in a time of 1:58.3 which was the pacer’s second consecutive and 11th of the season.
Win number two came behind Danby Racing’s, Lucky Angel, in 1:58.1. A 1:58.3 effort with Darren Stratton’s Pembroke Lil, was Zeke’s third winner of the day and he capped his afternoon with a 2:01.1 winner with Randy Ingrassia’s trotter Hankey’s Hooray.
“I shoulda (sic) won five,” Parker said at the end of the day. “ I (also) had four seconds but I thought Edie’s Desire (looking for her 16th seasonal win) was the best in her race but we got a rough trip and were beat in a photo.”
Even though Parker notched four winners he only picked up one victory on Bruce Aldrich, Jr. who had a hat trick of his own on the Monday card. Heading into the Tuesday, October 4th racing program here Aldrich leads Parker 294-293.