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Horse Racing : Don Pierce, 47, Announces Retirement

January 07, 1985

Jockey Don Pierce, who rode more than 3,500 winners in a 30-year career, said Sunday that he was retiring.

Pierce, 47, made the announcement at a news conference at Santa Anita.

"I didn't make up my mind until this morning," Pierce said. "I was going to come out and work some horses. But after I put on my boots and went downstairs to leave, I changed my mind and went back upstairs and took the boots off."

Pierce injured his back in a fall at Hollywood Park last summer--an injury from which he said he "never fully recovered."

Pierce, a native of Clebit, Okla., began his riding career at Ruidoso Downs, N.M., in 1954.

He earned more than $40 million with his mounts, with wins aboard Hill Rise in the Santa Anita Derby in 1964 and the Santa Anita Handicap in 1965 perhaps ranking as his biggest successes. The last major stakes winner Pierce rode was Fabulous Notion, a filly that was victorious in the Hollywood Starlet in 1982 and Santa Anita's Santa Susana Stakes in 1983.

Pierce recently went to Hong Kong and Malaysia at the invitation of racing officials in those nations, with the final winning ride of his career coming in Malaysia in November.

Pierce, who lives in Pasadena, said he would take some time off before deciding what he would do, but mentioned he might become a trainer.

Mitterand, the 6-5 favorite, took the lead late in the stretch Sunday and won the $66,950 La Brea Stakes for 4-year-old fillies by 1 3/4 lengths at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye, Mitterand covered the seven furlongs in 1:21 4/5 and paid $4.40, $3 and $2.40. Percipient was second, returning $4.20 and $3.60. Lady Trilby finished third, returning $3.40.

Mitterand earned $39,950, boosting her career total to $158,500. The win was her fourth in seven career starts.

Boo La Boo and Lady Trilby set the early pace. Mitterand moved outside on the far turn, took the lead in the final sixteenth and drew clear.

Percipient raced just off the leaders, made a bid for the lead between horses into the stretch, but could not finish with the winner.

Lady Trilby gained the lead briefly at the top of the stretch, but tired.

The La Brea Stakes is the first in the three-race La Canada Series for 4-year-old fillies. The series continues with the El Encino Stakes Jan. 20, and the La Canada Stakes Feb. 10.

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