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Sears Can Drive At Gural Tracks

Published: June 24, 2014 4:29 pm ET

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In a release issued Tuesday, June 24 by the Meadowlands Racetrack, Jeff Gural announced that he has spoken with driver Brian Sears and that ‘The White Knight’ is allowed to drive in any race he wishes to at Gural-operated racetracks – the Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs.

Last Thursday (June 19), Sears and Gural confirmed the news that Gural had banned Sears from driving at any of the three racetracks he operates. At the time, Gural would not comment on the decision, saying "I assure the industry that I have a reason."

Last Friday morning at the Meadowlands, the track’s morning qualifying session was delayed slightly when Sears showed up to drive the horses he was named on. Officials from the Meadowlands asked Sears to leave, which he did.

Gural issued a statement later Friday which stated, in part, that, "Mr. Sears and I have our differences over the standards that we choose to apply at the Meadowlands and whether or not he should have been loyal to the Meadowlands rather than move to Yonkers.”

At the time, Gural had commented that he likes Sears and that the veteran reinsman is a “great driver.”

Additionally, on Monday, June 23, the Ontario Harness Horse Association opted to release a statement against Gural’s position on the issue.

Gural’s Tuesday statement starts off by saying, "Brian is a friend of mine and I am glad we had a chance to clear the air this morning. Brian is a very talented driver and one of the best I have ever seen. Brian made some comments to me that particularly did not line up with my vision for harness racing, but we have spoken about them and are moving forward.”

Gural went on to say that he completely understand why Sears makes his decision to race at Yonkers, and that Sears completely understands why Gural wishes he would still race at the Meadowlands.

“At the end of the day, Brian must make the decision that is best for him as I make the decisions that are best for my three tracks,” Gural said “I told Brian he is welcome to race at any of my tracks (Meadowlands, Tioga, Vernon) and hope that he will race at them often.”

Gural concluded by saying, “We are both happy to put this behind us and move forward."

"I’m pleased that Jeff and I had a chance to get together and talk about the issues that came to a head last week,” Sears said in the release. “I’ve known Jeff for a long time and so I’m comfortable speaking my mind with him. I may have said some things in our conversation that didn’t come across very well. I respect the many good things that Jeff has done for harness racing and I’m glad that we can put our differences behind us and get back to a great summer of racing."

(With files from the Meadowlands)

(In an effort to facilitate better discussion, please post comments on this topic in the thread from the original story, "Brian Sears' Statement On Driving Restrictions"

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