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Jay Sears Passes

Published: January 13, 2020 10:10 am ET

Last Comment: January 14, 2020 2:30 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Horseman Jay Sears, a consummate horseman and father of Hall of Fame driver Brian Sears, passed away on Sunday night (Jan. 12) at the age of 78.

Sears, who lived on a farm in Osteen, Fla., on the St. John's River, had been working on his farm just days earlier.

Sears is the son of horseman Gene Sears and followed in his father's footsteps. After graduating from high school in Indianapolis, Ind., Sears began working for his father full time, before moving on to a groom's position for trainer Joe O'Brien. Sears went out on his own in 1961, and it was in that year he drove his first winner at Monticello Raceway. At age 22, in 1963, he became one of the youngest to ever drive a two-minute mile when he won with Georgia Red in 2:00 at Hollywood Park.

Sears' career then flourished, as he set up shop at Vernon Downs in the summer months and Pompano Park in the winter, where his children, Brian and daughter Jennifer, attended schools.

While Sears raced many stakes colts in the prime of his career, in the later years of his life he and his second wife, Kim, concentrated on Florida-breds and campaigned many ‘Sunshine’ stakes winners. In addition, in 2007-2008, Sears developed the pacing filly Native Bride, who in 2008 won the Garnsey Memorial, Matron and a Breeders Crown elimination. Native Bride was driven by his son, Brian, putting the father-son in the winner's circle together.

Sears was inducted into the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1992. His father, Gene, joined him three years later in 1995.

Sears also was active as a leader in the Florida harness racing community, as he served as the president of the Florida Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association.

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of Jay Sears.


January 14, 2020 - 2:30 pmMy condolences to the Sears

My condolences to the Sears family. RIP Jay

January 13, 2020 - 10:51 amMy condolences to Brian,

My condolences to Brian, Jennifer and family for their loss, may your Dad rest in peace.

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