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Oliver Cleo Wins Art Unger; Sears On Hot Streak

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Published: February 16, 2009 4:35 pm ET

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Oliver Cleo kicked off cover in the stretch and soared home to win the $73,500 Art Unger Stake on Monday afternoon at the Meadowlands.

Driver Brian Sears floated Oliver Cleo into sixth position off the gate as Harrahs Best (John Campbell) was first to the front in a :26.4 opening quarter. Golden Receiver (Cat Manzi) took over command before the half, but was quickly headed by General Montgomery (Dave Magee) down the backstretch. Oliver Cleo followed third-over as Red Mile Road (David Miller) challenged the leader, then tipped out in the lane and drew off to 1 3/4 length tally in a career best 1:50.3. He paid $4.40. Runner-up Real Samart (Yannick Gingras) capitalized on a second-over, while Red Star Catch (George Brennan) closed from fifth-over to nab third.

"With the way the track's setting up today and quick early fractions, I really liked my spot," said Sears, who finished the afternoon with seven winners. "He is a very talented colt, but still very green. He's versatile, but his best game is off the pace."

Oliver Cleo has now won five of seven career starts and $86,683. Owner-trainer Peter Kleinhans purchased Oliver Cleo privately from his previous connections, trainer Michael Perrin and owner Stephen Morrison, on Dec. 11, 2008.

The Art Unger Stake is named for the longtime Meadowlands horseman, who passed away at age 73 on March 8, 2008. A trainer for more than 40 years, Unger campaigned Shadyside Trixie and Young Quinn, two of the leading pacers of the 1970s. His top Meadowlands performers also included Allnightcardgame, a winner of more than $200,000, and C The Priest, who earned $183,671.

Sears Scores Seven At Meadowlands

Nine-time driving titlist Brian Sears steered home seven winners on the Presidents' Day matinee card at the Meadowlands.

Sears guided Oliver Cleo [$4.40] to victory in the $73,500 Art Unger Stake and also reined in Mrs Grant Seven [$10.20], CR Dream Catcher [$12.20], Tommys Shark [$9.00], Icandodgebullets [$5.20], MCA [$12.80] and Carrs Character [$3.00].

Until Sears' Feb. 16 septuplet, the last driver to win seven races on a 10-race card at the Meadowlands was John Campbell on Feb. 3, 1983. Sears, 41, was second in the sport in earnings last year with $16.5 million. He joined the Meadowlands driving colony in 2003 after ranking among the top drivers in Pennsylvania for nearly a decade.

To view Monday’s results, click here.

(NJSEA)


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