Pierce Loses Long-Time Assistant With Passing Of "Baby Ray"

Saturday, May 11, 2013

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Joe Pierce Jr., the senior member of Monmouth Park’s training colony, was saddened to lose his long-time assistant last week with the passing of William E. Johnson, known to all on the backside as “Baby Ray.”

            Mr. Johnson, a native of Charleston, W.Va., and long-time resident of Long Branch, died on May 1 at Monmouth Medical Center at age 76. He worked at Monmouth for 60 years as a valet and assistant trainer.

            “Nobody knew what his real name was,” Pierce said. “Everyone called him ‘Baby Ray’. And at his funeral, even his family called him ‘Baby Ray’. He was with me for nearly 50 years, and I’ll miss him.”

            Pierce, who will celebrate his 86th birthday in June, took out his trainer’s license in 1956, and is now dean of Monmouth’s trainers.