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Sears, Gural Resolve Driving Ban

Published: July 10, 2018 1:06 pm ET

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The dispute between driver Brian Sears and Meadowlands Racetrack owner Jeff Gural has been resolved.

Last week, news broke that Sears had been named to drive the Jimmy Takter-trained Thinkbig Dreambig in the eliminations for the 2018 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, but Sears was not permitted to be listed by the track. That drive eventually went to Jordan Stratton.

On Tuesday morning (July 10), a statement was sent on Sears' behalf that revealed a resolution to the situation.

"Jeff Gural and I had several discussions earlier in the year. He made it known what he expected from me. I agreed to go to the Meadowlands in June during the break at Yonkers. After contemplating what opportunities I might have there, I went a different route. I’m pleased that we have come to an agreement that works for all parties and allows me to race at The Meadowlands and fulfill my commitments to the owners and trainers that have invested so much in our game."

When reached on Tuesday morning, Gural confirmed the news to Trot Insider and offered more background to the story.

"Brian called me yesterday and I told him that he made me look bad because initially he had agreed to come back to the Meadowlands, and then he called me and said he changed his mind and wasn't interested in racing on the Grand Circuit. So I said ‘ok then, stay at Yonkers.’ And then I saw that he was driving in Pennsylvania and then he was actually driving at Tioga, and I think he drove yesterday in Monticello. He told me he had a change of heart and that he had some good clients who asked him to drive on the Grand Circuit, and that he decided that he would, and would I let him back. And I said I would. I'll let you back as long as you make it clear that I wasn't the bad guy here," said Gural.

"My policy with certain drivers is that if you want to drive at Yonkers all the time and just pop in for July, that's just not acceptable," continued Gural. "As you saw, most of the top drivers either stayed the whole time, took some time off, a bunch went to Florida for the winter...but once the Levy was over, they came back. And that was the deal that Brian and I had, that he was going to come back."

Sears did drive at The Meadowlands the weekend before the Meadowlands Pace elims, guiding Greenshoe to victory in a NJSS event on June 29. Gural noted that the sanctions only apply to events sponsored and controlled by The Meadowlands.

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