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Sears On New Jersey Situation

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Published: December 2, 2010 10:11 am ET

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Pilot Brian Sears has commented on the uphill battle the New Jersey racing industry is currently facing, and its effect on the drivers competing in the state.

Sears' comments came during an interview with Pompano Park's Frank Salive, who also broke the news that Sears will be returning to Florida for at least the next two weekends of competition, which will culminate with Pompano's 2010 Florida Super Night (Saturday, December 11).

“I’m really looking forward to it and it’s going to be fun to return to Florida and to Pompano,” said Sears. “I see it as an opportunity for a quality experience. I’ll be driving for my dad (Jay Sears) and his stable in the Florida Breeders Stake eliminations and finals, and a few other catch-drives too. Dad will soon be reaching his 70th birthday and this means a lot to him. So from any standpoint it’s going to be a good break for me to return to Pompano where I’ve driven a lot in my career."

Sears, now 42, was born in Ft. Lauderdale. He hails from a great harness racing family background with long-standing roots at the South Florida venue. His grandfather, Gene, began driving in 1946 and won over 1,000 races. His dad, Jay, has driven over 1,500 winners and is still extremely active on a nightly basis at Pompano. After three straight driving titles at Vernon Downs starting in 1991, Brian progressed to the top of the drivers’ standings at the Meadows. Since his move to the Meadowlands, Brian has won almost 3,000 races and driven the winners of $100 million in purses since 2004. One of his greatest feats went into the record books in August of 2009 when he won the Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks and Peter Haughton Memorial for a single day’s purse earnings which surpassed $1.5 million.

“Home is New Jersey now for me, and with the uncertainty about things there, I would say there is a 'down' mood in the drivers’ room, but not desperation,” Brian said. “We’re pretty much resigned to racing fewer dates and for the same purses in 2011. Where everyone agrees is that we have to hang in there for a few years and see the Meadowlands restored to its rightful place. As for this return to Florida to race, it’s going to be great with lots of family and friends still there. As for the warmth and sunshine, well, there’s never really a bad time for that.”

On Friday evening, December 3, fans and followers of Pompano won’t have to wait long to see Brian in action. He’ll be in the bike with Pretty Girl from Post 3 in a non-wagering division of the Florida Breeders Stakes three-year-old filly trot, which will turn to the gate at 6:45 p.m. The Friday evening program at 7:05 p.m. will feature elimination action for the state-bred two and three-year-old fillies in advance of the Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) 2010 Super Night set for Saturday, December 11.

New Live Racing Schedule Starts Next Week

A change to the live harness racing schedule for Pompano comes into effect next week.

From Monday, December 3 until May 31, 2011, the weekly schedule for live action is each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday evening. Post time is always 7:05 p.m. (EST).

The only exceptions to that schedule are in December and April. There is no live program on Saturday, December 25, and instead there will be a live race program on Thursday, December 23. Additionally, the third week in April 2011 will be a dark week. Following the Saturday evening program of April 16, 2011, racing will resume on Monday, April 25.

(Pompano)


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