By Bill Finley
Photo: Somenicebeach @ The Meadowlands (Lisa Photo)
Originally hoping to be back on Hambletonian Day, Ron Pierce appears to be nowhere close to making his return as he said yesterday his back problems will likely lead to another surgery. Pierce is scheduled to meet with his doctor next week, but seemed resigned to the fact that he will need another operation. Due to nagging problems that built up over his career, Pierce had neck and back surgery in March. He said yesterday his neck is doing well but his back is an issue and he cannot see himself driving again until it gets better. He believes the only way that is going to happen is with another operation.
“I could probably drive now, but if I did it would only be a matter of time before I’m busted up again and would need something done,” he said. “This isn ‘t just about driving. Right now, my back is bad enough that I can’t do the things in life I enjoy, driving and all sorts of other things. I need to get this fixed. One thing I really don’t want to do is to start taking pain medication to get through this.”
Pierce has not driven since March 7. Originally, he thought he would be out no more than six weeks. When it became clear he would be out longer, he targeted Hambletonian weekend for his comeback, another goal that won’t be reached.
“I really miss driving,” he said. “It takes something like this to make you realize how much you appreciate what you do.”
Pierce is 58 and has 9,569 career victories. He said two of his goals are to drive a winner in his sixties and to reach 10,000 winners. He is cautiously optimistic that will happen.
“I want to drive again and I think I can,” he said. “But if I can’t get my back properly fixed I can’t go out there anymore. Retirement is not out of the question.”