OCEANPORT, N.J. — Joe Pierce, Jr., a fixture in the Monmouth Park training ranks since the late 1960s, died Thursday, June 7, 2018 following a lengthy illness. He was 90 years old.
The son of a trainer, Pierce took out his training license in 1956 and saddled 2,256 winners with earnings of $36,363,939 during a distinguished career. Among his stakes winners were Friendly Lover, one of just 10 New Jersey-bred millionaire earners, Dream Deal, Family Enterprize, Night Invader and Grecian Flight.
“He was a great horsemen and a fabulous guy,” said trainer Chuck Spina, who shared Barn 14 with Pierce on the Monmouth Park backstretch for the past two decades. “He has always been one of my idols. He had so many great horses over the years. He was an old school-type of trainer who had the ability to adapt to whatever the times were.”
A licensed pilot, Pierce joined the Navy at the age of 17 and is a veteran of World War 2.
Monmouth Park honored him with the prestigious Virgil “Buddy” Raines Distinguished Achievement Award in 1999.
Pierce was still active as a trainer during the current meeting, saddling one winner from four starters. That win came on May 26 with Gourmet Delight in a claiming race. His last starter was Celebrity Warrior who finished fourth on May 27.
Funeral services are pending.
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