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Sears On A Roll At Yonkers

Published: February 7, 2013 9:08 pm ET

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“Things are going well, no doubt about it. You have to get the opportunities, and sometimes you get on a little roll, but I’m not going to keep up that pace. But it’s certainly nice to get off to a good start.”

It’s safe to say driver Brian Sears is making himself feel at home at Yonkers Raceway.

So far this year Sears is winning at a 27.3% clip at the New York oval and sits atop the driver standings with 47 victories and $595,240 in purses. His horses’ earnings rank third in all of North America this season and the win total is seventh best.

Sears finished third in wins at Yonkers in 2012 despite racing there on a limited basis. He also finished fourth at Meadowlands Racetrack, where he was the leading driver six times previously in his career. He decided to drive more regularly at Yonkers this year because of opportunities – Yonkers is racing five days a week compared to the Meadowlands’ three.

“I struggled with the decision, but (Yonkers) is close to home and I know I’ll have a place to work regularly without having to run all over to get drives,” Sears said. “It’s a good group of people to race for and drive with.”

Sears, who has won 8,137 races lifetime, ranks sixth in harness racing history in purses, with $136 million. He has won 23 Breeders Crown events, good for fourth place all time, and captured many of the sport’s top stakes races, including the Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, Kentucky Futurity, Meadowlands Pace and North America Cup.

He also was the regular driver of Horse of the Year winners Muscle Hill (2009) and Rocknroll Hanover (2005).

Last year, Sears saw his streak of seasons with at least $10 million in purses come to an end at eight, which is tied for the most in history (with David Miller and Ron Pierce). Sears missed reaching $10 million by less than $68,000.

“I never was too worried about streaks,” said Sears, who was voted Driver of the Year in 2009 by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. “I’m just happy being able to make a living doing something I love. I feel very fortunate. I’m very blessed to be able to do what I’m doing.”

One of Sears’ special moments last year came when he traveled to Sweden to drive Arch Madness in the prestigious Elitlopp. Although the duo finished second to Commander Crowe, it was memorable.

“It was a great experience and a relatively successful trip,” Sears said. “I’m really glad I did that. It’s one of those experiences that I don’t have to look back on to realize how special it was. I knew it was special when it was happening.”

As for this year, Sears has one goal: To make as many people as possible feel happy.

“I just enjoy my job and performing at a high level,” Sears said. “As long as I’m doing my job to the best of my ability, I feel good. But what is really the best feeling is bringing a horse back to the winner’s circle and seeing someone happy. Whether it’s a Breeders Crown or $15,000 claimer, I enjoy putting a smile on someone’s face.”


This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.


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