Twitter icon
Facebook icon

Don Pierce

Don Pierce
Induction Year: 
Career Years: 
Number of Mounts: 
Number of Winners: 
Winning Percentage: 

Tab Wrapper


    Don Pierce rose from humble racing roots to become one of the big money riders of the 1960s and 1970s. A native of Clebit, Oklahoma, Pierce began his career with a victory at New Mexico’s Ruidoso Downs in 1954 and went on to become one of the most accomplished jockeys on the Southern California circuit. Furthermore, he enjoyed success at numerous tracks throughout the United States and internationally.


    Pierce rode for such elite trainers as Mesh Tenney, William Molter, Charlie Whittingham and Robert Wheeler and led all North American jockeys with 32 stakes winners in 1973. He was a force in Southern California, winning the state’s signature race for older horses, the Santa Anita Handicap, four times. Pierce also won five consecutive runnings of the Los Angeles Handicap (1969-73) as well as five runnings of the Santa Anita Oaks. He won the Del Mar Debutante and Hollywood Oaks four times each and the Del Mar Derby, Del Mar Oaks, Santa Monica Handicap, Santa Ana Handicap and Santa Margarita Handicap three times apiece.


    Pierce also enjoyed plenty of success in New York. He won a riding title at Belmont Park and captured several of Saratoga’s most prestigious races, including the Hopeful and Jim Dandy.


    Among Pierce’s top mounts were Flying Paster, Hill Rise, Quack, Taisez Vous, La Zanzara, Triple Bend, Kennedy Road, Modus Vivendi, Forceten, Minstrel Miss and Princessnessian, with whom he defeated males in the 1968 Hollywood Gold Cup to cap a five-winner day.


    Pierce was presented the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1967. After 30 years in the saddle, Pierce retired with 3,546 wins – 351 of them stakes – from 28,740 mounts, with purse earnings of $39,018,422.


    Don Pierce was inducted in the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 2010.