It was confirmed early this afternoon (Thursday, June 19, 2014) that harness racing driver Brian Sears has been banned from competing at three racetracks, the Meadowlands, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs, which are all owned by Jeff Gural.
Sears, 46, is one of the leading drivers in the harness racing industry. According to the United States Trotting Association, Sears has 8,829 career victories and $153,761.224 in purse earnings by the horses he had driven. He hails from a family deep in harness racing tradition. His late grandfather, Gene, is a member of the Hall of Fame and his father, Jay, is a prominent owner, breeder, trainer and driver.
In a telephone conversation, Sears confirmed that he has been banned from the three tracks but refused to comment about it at this time.
Sears would still be able to compete in stakes races at the three tracks but would not be allowed to race in any regular overnight events or qualifying races.
Jeff Gural did not return any phone calls or emails concerning the situation.
Sears had been a regular fixture at the Meadowlands for many years. While he does most of his driving at Yonkers Raceway, he had been competing at the three tracks on a regular basis for most of their stakes events.
It was just last season that Sears won both the $1.2 million Hambletonian Final with Royality For Life and the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Bee A Magician, on the same day at the Meadowlands, the second time he has acheived that feat.
By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com