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Wilkes-Barre, PA - Favored McWicked ($3.80) moved to the lead at the five-eighths pole, easily putting away Lazarus N and then opening to win by four comfortable lengths in 1:49.3. Brian Sears drove McWicked for trainer Casie Coleman, as he won his second Breeders Crown trophy. Early leader Filibuster Hanover rallied for second, while Donttellmeagain finished third. Mcwicked has now earned over $3.7 million in his career after posting his 24th career win. "He's real easy to drive and he does everything you want. It's great to have the opportunity to drive such nice horses," said Sears, who won three Breeders Crown races Saturday night. "I always think he's gonna be good, but to think he is going to do what he did this year... I think he is better now than he was at three. He is a big team effort no doubt. I hope he is going to race next year, but that is not my call. It is up to Mr. James (owner Edward James of the SSG Stables.) I think he will be at stud, but I hope he will race, our team would really like that," explained trainer Casie Coleman. Filibuster Hanover took the field to the quarter in 26.1, but Lazarus N was immediately out and winging, taking the field past the half in 55.2. McWicked pulled up the backside and easily disposed of his challenger, rolling past three-quarters in 1:21.2 before Sears took his foot off the gas in the stretch. McWicked is a seven-year-old bay horse by McArdle, out of the Western Ideal mare Western Sahara. He was bred by Andray Farm of Punxutawney, Pennsylvania. By Keith Gisser, For The Breeders Crown      

Wilkes-Barre, PA - The track at Mohegan Sun Pocono may have been sloppy but the effort from Tactical Landing was pretty neat as he took the $500,000 Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Trot in a speedy 1:52.1. Harness racing driver Brian Sears got Tactical Landing away second as Met's Hall took the field to the quarter in 27.1, but he cruised to the front en route to the 55.4 half mile marker. Tactical Landing hit three-quarters in 1:23.4 and drew off from Met's Hall and Crystal Fashion in the stretch, winning by open lengths. Met's Hall and Crystal Fashion were second and third, respectively. The presumptive favorite, Six Pack, was scratched from the race due to sickness. Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter, who is retiring at the end of this season, trains Tactical Landing for the Tactical Landing Stable of Perrysburg, Ohio. An $800,000 yearling, the son of Muscle Hill from the Varenne mare Southwind Serena, was bred by Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm and Andrea Lea Racing Stables. He has now earned $644,300 in his career as he won for the eighth time. The win was the second Crown title of the night for driver Sears. Takter was pleased, but philosophical in the winner's circle. "This horse, he's been battling a lot of issues. I have trained a lot of great horses, but the way he carries himself in this weather, I know he's by far the best three-year-old out there. I know Six Pack is a good horse, and it's too bad he got sick, but he would not have a shot with this horse. This horse is a level above anything. This was number 34 (Breeders Crown win), and I was very nervous going into it. This is my last year so I'd like to get at least one Crown before I get out of here." In taking home the John Cashman Jr. Memorial Trophy, sponsored by Brittany Farms, favored Tactical Landing paid $2.80 to win. by Keith Gisser, for The Breeders Crown

Wilkes-Barre, PA - Brian Sears piloted favored Gimpanzee to a 2½ length victory in the $600,000 two-year-old Breeders Crown Colt Trot, with an effortless 1:54.4 win. Stablemate Green Manalishi S was second and longshot Hudson River finished third. Marcus Melander trains the top two finishers. Melander was very pleased with Gimpanzee, saying, "It feels great, of course. He's like an aged horse, you can do whatever you want with him in a race. He's got a lot of stamina and a lot of speed and everything went well. I thought he raced great. I couldn't be more happy with the year." "It's not over until it's over but the horse has showed up all year," added Sears. "He just knows how to do his job and got it done again tonight, figured I'd take my shot on the front." Gimpanzee got the early lead but yielded to Green Manalishi S just before the 27-second quarter mile marker. Sears had the son of Chapter Seven out and moving at the three-eighths and the race was for all intents and purposes over. He cruised through a leisurely 57.3 half mile and 1:26.3 three-quarter marks before sprinting home in 28.1, fending off a mild challenge from Green Manalishi S entering the stretch. Gimpanzee's dam is the Muscle Massive mare Steamy Windows. He finishes his two-year-old campaign with a perfect nine-for-nine record, while banking nearly $600,000. Bred by Order By Stable, he is owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, both of Delray Beach, Florida. In taking the Bill Weaver Memorial Trophy, Gimpanzee paid $3.00 to win. The Melander-trained exacta paid $12.40. by Keith Gisser, For The Breeders Crown  

YONKERS, NY, Monday, October 22, 2018--Turns out Brian Sears' 30-1 upset with Cruzado Dela Noche in the million-dollar Yonkers International Trot was puny parimutuel potatoes. Monday night (Oct. 22nd), Sears and---we kid you not--82-1 A Oliveinmymartini became Yonkers Raceway's largest win mutuel of the season, to the tune of $167.50 for ever correct couple of bucks. This was far for a 'shortest distance between two points' number. From post position No. 8 in the $16,000, third-race pace, the lass missed the memo, spotting her rivals about a half-dozen lengths at the start. A Oliveinmymartini did catch the field, racing fourth along the pylons before slipping out and widest in the final turn. She defeated 11-1 Successful Outlook (Jordan Stratton) by a half-length, with 17-1 Bullvillekarla (Dan Dube) third and 6-1 Fine Art (Brent Holland) fourth. Making her first start for owner Samuel Abdoo and trainer Amber Buter, the 3-year-old daughter of Three Olives was patrolling the Ohio fair circuit before winning at Dayton 18 nights ago. The 1:55.2 in her local debut was a life-best performance and led a $1,433 exacta, $10,899 triple (base $2 payout, $1 ticket worth $5,449.50) and $129,551 (base $2 payout, 10-cent ticket worth $6,477.55). A Oliveinmymartini won for the third time in 10 seasonal starts. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

Sweden’s Cruzado Dela Noche made a three-wide move on the final turn and the 30-1 long shot was able to nip Norway’s Lionel at the wire in a dramatic photo finish by a head in winning harness racing’s $1 million International Trot at Yonkers Raceway Saturday. Driven by Brian Sears, Cruzado Dela Noche got away in sixth place as Arazi Boko (Alessandro Gocciadoro) took the early lead away from the USA’s Ariana G (Yannick Gingras) going to the first quarter in :28.2. Race favorite and Elitloppet winner, Ringostar Treb and Pastore Bob both went off-stride going for the lead on the first turn. Then Canada’s Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) came first-over and was able to clear to the lead and take the field to the half mile in :57.1 as Lionel and driver Goran Antonsen came first-over with Sears and Cruzado Dela Noche followed second over past the three-quarters in 1:27. As they came to the final turn, Sears made the big move three-wide with Cruzado Dela Notche past the mile marker in 1:27 and the three-horses raced side-by-side around the turn and then the battle began down the stretch. Marion Marauder began to tire, Lionel looked if he had the race won, but with every stride, Cruzado Dela Noche gained ground and then in the final strides to the wire, won by a head in 2:24.3. Up And Quick (Jason Bartlett) was third. A six-year-old stallion by Muscle Massive, Cruzado Dela Notche was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms in the USA and raced in the states at age two before being shipped to Sweden. He trained by Marcus Melander and is leased by Courant, Inc. of Delray Beach, Florida. He paid $62.50 to win. Also, of note is that Cruzado Dela Noche had not been in a pari-mutuel race since June 10. He did have two winning qualifying races before going in the International. “I’m just so proud and happy to be here today,” said winning driver Brian Sears. “The trip I got, I could not have drawn it up any better. Maybe I should have tipped him three deep a little earlier than I did. When I did tip out it made the 9 horse (Lionel) worked a little harder. Perhaps if I had waited until the top of the stretch my horse would have gotten to him sooner. “He just raced super,” Sears said. “He got the trip that he needed. It’s just awesome today. To win the International Trot is great. This was my fourth time in the race. You don’t get that many chances to compete at this level. To win this today is quite a thrill.” “We did the qualifiers at Pocono,” said trainer Marcus Melander. “And we really did not know if they were enough for him to get ready for this race. He showed up today in good shape. “We train our horses a lot,” Melander said. “He was use to the extra distance racing from Sweden.” Warrawee Roo and Dube take $250,000 Harry Harvey Trot With a huge three-wide move from fourth place, Warrawee Roo and driver Daniel Dube was able to collar pacesetter Gruden and go on to win the $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot Saturday at Yonkers Raceway. Gruden, at 22-1, and driver Tim Tetrick grabbed the lead away from In Secret (George Brennan) to start off the seven race one and one-quarter mile race and led the field past the opening quarter in :28.1 and the half mile in :57. Yes Mickey and driver Jason Barlett had started up first-over with Warrawee Roo following the outside flow second-over as they past the three-quarters in 1:27. Then at the one-mile mark in the race at 1:56, Dube moved Warrawee Roo three-wide, clearing by Yes Mickey and then collaring Gruden as they started down the stretch. Warrawee Roo then has plenty of trot in the stretch, holding off Tap Flight Angel (Andy Miller) to win by one length in 2:25.2 with Gruden third. Winless in his last seven starts, Warrawee Roo, a five-year-old stallion by Majestic Son, posted his fourth win of the year for trainer Luc Blais and the Determination Stable of Montreal, Canada. He paid $10.60 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

It was a big harness racing day for driver Brian Sears at Yonkers Raceway Saturday afternoon. After capturing the $1 million International Trot with Cruzado Dela Noche, Sears then came back in the 11th race $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace to win with ease with McWicked. It was Mach It So (Jason Bartlett) who flew out of the starting gate to take command and then Nuclear Dragon and driver Tim Tetrick came right after Mach It So to control the pace at the first quarter in :27. As they came past the grandstand the first time, Sear came out with McWicked and started to grind his way towards the leaders at the half mile in :55.3. Following second-over was Bit Of A legend with driver Jordan Stratton. Then in the backstretch, McWicked was able to overpower Mach It So and take command with ease going to the three-quarters in 1:22.4. From there is was all McWicked as he pulled away in the stretch to win by four open lengths in 1:50.4. Bit Of A Legend was second with Evenin Of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) third. “He always gives a great effort,” Sears said after the race. “I was OK with getting away third and I knew we would have to come first up and he just makes it look so easy. I don’t want to always come first up with him, but today he was OK. He is just so easy to drive.” A seven-year-old stallion by McArdle, it was the ninth win this year for McWicked. He is trained by Casie Coleman and owned by Ed James SSG Stable of North Boston, NY. He paid $2.90 to win as the race favorite with the scratch of Lazarus from the race on Friday. McWicked now sports 31 career wins in 90 starts and lifetime earnings of $3.500,376. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

YONKERS, N.Y. – Sunday morning (October 7), there was no time for celebration in Chris Oakes’ barn on the backstretch at the Red Mile. Homicide Hunter, who set a world record for the fastest trotting mile ever the afternoon before, stood in his stall after going out to jog several laps with caretaker Therese Pierce.  Despite his remarkable achievement on the track, in the barn, Homicide Hunter was barely noticeable, standing silently in a dark corner of his stall without so much as a fuss as Pierce tended to him with the stall door wide open. “Not crazy. We went out for dinner afterwards, shared a few laughs, and we’re back to work today,” Oakes said as he looked admiringly into the trotter’s stall. “You can’t dwell on it too long, we have to work now, we have to keep going.” Homicide Hunter shipped back to Oakes’ Pennsylvania farm this week and will ship to Yonkers Friday to arrive in time for the 24-hour detention barn ahead of Saturday’s Harry Harvey Trot, a $250,000 invitational on the Yonkers International Trot undercard. The stakes will mark Homicide Hunter’s first local start since August 12 and his first start after setting the record. “He has a 10-hour ship back to Pennsylvania, then gets hauled Friday up to Yonkers, race, then be back to Pocono for the Breeders Crown. It’s a lot to ask of these horses,” Oakes said. “He’ll be getting a nice, easy week in the field. I’ve got a pool at the farm right inside the barn, they’ll get swimming a lot and get turned out. That’s what he really enjoys.” Homicide Hunter’s easy week comes off a grueling schedule. After winning the $100,000 Great Northeast Open Series Final over 10 furlongs at Pocono September 2, Homicide Hunter had a tune up at Pocono September 12 before shipping to the Midwest. He finished third in the Caesars Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park September 21 and fourth in the Dayton Trotting Derby September 28 before heading to the Red Mile for the Allerage Farms Open Trot. The Allerage set up perfectly for Homicide Hunter, who has come from off the pace in all of his recent stakes tries. Lindy The Great put up a quarter in :26.2 and after taking the lead heading up the backstretch, Will Take Charge passed the half in :53.2.  Homicide Hunter followed Lindy The Great and Pinkman in the flow third over to three-quarters in 1:22. Brian Sears tipped Homicide Hunter four-wide into the stretch and with a :26 final quarter under with minimal urging from the Hall of Fame driver, Homicide Hunter swept past the field to win by 3 lengths in 1:48.4.  Oakes thought Homicide Hunter could trot sub-1:50, but never expected a world record. He was thrilled to share the moment with owners Al and Michelle Crawford. The win improved Homicide Hunter’s record to 38 wins from 75 starts and boosted his earnings to $1,463,927. “I knew instantly that was a world record. I’m just very happy for the horse and for the owners, too,” Oakes said. “They bring so much to the game and you like to see good people like that do good. When they spend the money they do on horses like this, it’s nice to see things go right. “Luckily, they were on time in front of him, they were getting down there. That helped,” he continued. “The horses that were in front of him were racing hard and of course, he hadn’t been used yet. So, when he did get free, he was loaded.” Homicide Hunter raced barefoot in his record-setting mile, a decision Oakes grappled with before the race. It was his second time racing barefoot for Oakes; the only other instance came in the same race one year earlier when Homicide Hunter was second to Hannelore Hanover in a 1:49.2 mile. The shoes were back on Sunday morning, as they will be for his start in the Harry Harvey Trot. “The track was extremely fast; the conditions were perfect,” Oakes said. “I was contemplating whether I was going to take his shoes off or not, but if you don’t do it on a day like that, you’ll never do it. I thought it was the right conditions and he was OK with it. “This year, the only I thing I did differently was I put no boots on him at all. He wears trotting boots behind, like most of them do, the only thing I put on his hind legs were two wraps, keep it as light as possible, and it worked,” he said. The Harry Harvey Trot will be a completely different style of racing for Homicide Hunter than what he encountered at the Red Mile. He will shift from the mile track to the half, will face a big field of nine rivals, and will stretch back out to 10 furlongs. Although Homicide Hunter won a local Open Handicap Trot at 1 ¼-miles from off the pace earlier this year, Oakes doesn’t want to be too far back against a tough field Saturday. “He’s OK with Yonkers. Big change and maybe even a change in strategies too,” Oakes said. “I don’t know if we can be that far back at Yonkers, it’s a different style of racing there, a little bit more speed involved.” Homicide Hunter drew post 10 and with Sears back in the bike, is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the Harry Harvey Trot. He’ll face Guardian Angel As, the runner up in the Allerage for Annette Lorentzon, who drew post 3 and is 4-1 early. Warrawee Roo, who finished second in the Dayton Trotting Derby last out, is 6-1 from the inside post. The field also includes a host of recent local winners, including Top Flight Angel, In Secret, Yes Mickey, Gruden, NF Happenstance, Sortie and DW’s NY Yank. After his world record score, a win in the Harry Harvey Trot heading into the Breeders Crown would make an impressive campaign for the 6-year-old gelding. Oakes is just happy to be along for the ride. “This horse was a good horse long before I ever laid hands on him. His 3-year-old year in a very tough program in Indiana, this horse won 16 out of 18 (for Curt Grummel) and that tells you right there what kind of horse you’re dealing with. He’s a winner. He’s won half of his lifetime starts. It’s really all about him. I’m glad to be part of him." Saturday’s card also features the $1,000,000 Yonkers International Trot and the $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace. First post time is 1 p.m. For entries to the card, click here. For more information on the International Trot and its participants, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the SOA of NY

McWicked and driver Brian Sears paced the second fastest mile in the history of harness racing with a 1:46.2 victory over Lazarus in the $179,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace at the Red Mile Saturday. The eighth race feature saw Western Fame and driver Brett Miller leave from post nine and take the early lead away from Filbuster Hanover (Matt Kakaley). Also, on the move was Australian import Heaven Rocks and driver David Miller and by the opening quarter mile in :26.1 they were in command of the field. Past the half mile marker in :52.1, Filibuster Hanover and Kakaley started up first-over and was followed on the outside by McWicked and Sears. Following McWicked third over was Lazarus (Yannick Gingras). They raced past the three-quarters in 1:19.1 as McWicked and then Lazarus started to fan out and come after Heaven Rocks. McWicked was able to collar and pass by Heaven Rocks in the stretch and then hold off Lazarus to win by one length in 1:46.2. Filibuster Hanover was third. It was a lifetime record for McWicked and the $89,500 winners share of the purse pushed his earnings over $1 million in 2018 for trainer Casie Coleman and the SSG Stables of North Boston, NY.   McWicked has now tied his rivalry with Lazarus at 2-2. To see the race click here.  Sired by McArdle, McWicked is seven years old and now sports career earnings of $3,375,376. He paid $5.00 to win. “This horse,” said trainer Casie Coleman. “I’ve never had one this old before and wow, 1:46.2, I’ve never had a horse go that fast and that makes him pretty special. “I’ve always liked this big horse,” Coleman added. “When we got him at age 3 he earned $1.5 million and won some of the big stakes races. He still racing now and going strong. “We got invited to Yonkers next week to race for a half a million,” Coleman said. “I didn’t think the owner wanted to go there but he said yes so it looks like we are going to Yonkers.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

LEXINGTON, KY -- With fast fractions set before him, Homicide Hunter ranged towards the center of the track into the stretch and slingshot past tiring trotters to become the fastest trotter in harness racing history with a 1:48.4 victory in the $145,000 Allerage Farms Open Trot, sponsored by Jeff & Paula Gural, at The Red Mile on Saturday, Oct. 6. Homicide Hunter's 1:48.4 mile lowered the all-time trotting mark previously set by Hannelore Hanover, who beat the boys in the Allerage Farms Trot last year with a 1:49.2 mile. The time also lowers the record for gelding trotters of 1:49.4, set by Jl Cruze at the Meadowlands in 2015. Guardian Angel As took the lead from Pinkman firing at the rail while Lindy The Great floated for position into third. Lindy The Great brushed to the lead by the quarter in :26.2 as Will Take Charge, away fourth, angled off the rail and began his move for the lead, clearing before a :53.2 half. Will Take Charge faced first-over pressure from Guardian Angel As around the far turn with Pinkman positioned second over and Homicide Hunter third over. Guardian Angel As inched to the lead past three-quarters in 1:22 and fought for command into the eighth pole. However Homicide Hunter, poised from his setup, accelerated past the field with ease and trotted to the wire going away from Guardian Angel As holding second. Pinkman finished third while Lindy The Great weaved into fourth. A six-year-old gelding by Mr Cantab out of the Like A Prayer mare Evening Prayer, Homicide Hunter won his eighth race in 13 starts and his 38th in 75 overall, surpassing $1.4 million in earnings. The Chris Oakes-trainee, returning $5.20 to win, races for Crawford Farms Racing and had Brian Sears in the bike. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, September 19, 2018- Brian Sears, he of the recent 10,000 career harness racing win plateau, was the subject of Tuesday (Sept. 18th) profile by News 12 Westchester. Sports anchor/reporter Pete Ruf spent a Yonkers Raceway evening with Sears. They discussed his career (Sears', not Ruf's), starting with learning his craft from his father, Jay, through the early years in upstate New York, his countless stakes victories, Hall of Fame induction and remaining among the sport's premier drivers. The story can be viewed by clicking here. A note of appreciation to Ruf and News 12 for their continued interest in the Raceway side of Yonkers Raceway. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY - Yonkers Raceway Friday night (Sept. 14th) wrapped up its New York Sire Stakes legs--all 16 of 'em--with the $156,200 Lew Barasch Trot for 2-year-old harness racing colts and geldings. Friday's event once again honored the memory of 'Tootie,' whose unmatched PR savvy in the golden age of the game helped make the nascent Roosevelt International Trot a happening. The evening's first ($77,400) grouping saw odds-on Thunder (Jason Bartlett, $3.10) do it handily in 1:58. From post position No. 2, he made the lead around Brady Bunch (Andy Miler) after an early break of Kredit Karma (Brian Sears). After that, no issues for the fave through dawdling (:29.1, 59.2, 1:29) fractions. Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr.) tried it first-up from third, settling for second to the winner (as he did at Vernon), with the final margin three lengths. Brady Bunch and Quiksilver Bluchip (catch-driver Jordan Stratton) completed the gimmick finishers. For Thunder, a son of Conway Hall trained by John Butenschoen for co-owners Crawford Racing, VIP Internet Stables and Jeremey Day, it was his fourth win in eight seasonal starts (all in last five tries). The exacta paid $12.20, the triple returned $17.20 and the superfecta paid $98.50. "He's handy, he gets over any size tracks and he's getting better," Bartlett said. "We're ready for next week (sire stakes finals here)." The evening's second ($78,800) statebred sojourn was a mismatch on paper and in practice for divisional leader Gimpanzee (Sears, $2.10), making it 6-for-6 ($166,358) during his froshfest. All the wins have come in New York Sire Stakes competition, the latest after weigh stations of :29, :57.4, 1:28.1 and (identical to first event) 1:58. From post No. 6, he waited his turn to get by an eventually-breaking Captain Krupnik (Dan Dube) and Chapter Fashion (Bartlett). The latter eventually did the dance of the damned coming to the half, which led to an extremely gapped-out gang. The lead was eight lengths at intermission. Our White Knight (Miller) did cut in that passing the three-quarters, but the outcome was even more death-and-taxes than death-and-taxes. Gimpanzee won by 3¾ lengths, with Out White Knight safely second over Certify (Jeff Gregory). Fourth went to Captain Krupnik, as his break wasn't as costly as the other three misbehavers...even though all four were 'distanced' in the chart. Gimpanzee, a son of Chapter Seven is trained by Marcus Melander for Delray Beach co-owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable, has won his half-dozen starts by a combined 23¼ lengths. The exacta paid $23.20, the triple returned $222 and the superfecta paid $920. "He's done nothing wrong and tonight was the same," Sears said. The Raceway hosts the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions Saturday night, Sept. 21st, with eight, $225,000 divisional finals. Friday night's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace was won by Medusa (Sears, $6.60) in 1:52, the lady's 35th career victory in her 120th start. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 8, 2018-A week after the 2018 Yonkers Trot, there was a renewal of the 2017 edition, complete with similar outcome. Top Flight Angel (Brian Sears, $17.20) two-moved from the eight-hole Saturday night (Sept. 8th), winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $44,000 Open Handicap Trot. He grinded his way up and over Yes Mickey (Jason Bartlett), just as he did in last season's Trot. The margin was a nose when they went for a half-million-dollars then and a length here. The mile went in 1:55 after Yes Mickey's intervals of :28.1, 57.3 and 1:25.4. Third went to a belated Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory), Charmed Life (catch-driver Mark MacDonald) and Elysium Lindy (George Brennan) settled for the minors, while slight 2-1 choice Rose Run Sydney (Jim Marohn Jr.) jumped it off early. For fourth choice Top Flight, a 4-year-old son of Archangel owned by Legendary Standardbred Farm and trained by Julie Miller, it was his fourth win in 10 seasonal starts (career earnings over $614,000). The exacta paid $80 ($79.50 in the '17 Trot), the triple returned $225 and the superfecta paid $1,413. Saturday night's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace saw pole-assigned Sunfire Blue Chip (MacDonald, $7.50) retake from 7-10 favorite Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno), then win comfortably in 1:51.3 (off early subsections of :26.4, :55.4 and 1:23). Back for his first visit in nearly three months, Sunfire Blue Chip defeated a first-up Theartofconfusion A (Sears) by a length-and-a-quarter, with Evenin' of Pleasure, Somewhere in L A (Bartlett) and Always at My Place (Brennan) coming away with the remainder. For second choice Sunfire Blue Chip, an 8-year-old son of American Ideal trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical and R A W Equine, it was his sixth win in 18 '18 tries (career earnings over $1.4 million). The exacta paid $37.60, the triple returned $105 and the superfecta paid $632. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, September 2, 2018-A second-tier Bioness (Brian Sears, $33.80) made one decisive move Sunday afternoon (Sept. 2nd), winning the $120,000 final of Yonkers Raceway's French-American Trotting Club Series. The finale, wrapping a four-race series for imported French-breds, went at the mile-and-a-half and the first of the four added-distance races. Away sixth (fifth after a breaker) from post position No. 9, Bioness made the lead from 47-1 Adagio de la Tour (Jason Bartlett) between the :28.3 opening quarter-mile and the :59.1 half. He then fought off Uhlan Noir (Brent Holland), with Deo (George Brennan) wide behind that one. While this was going on, 6-5 choice favorite Versachet (Jordan Stratton) found himself going wide to nowhere, while second choice Ursis des Caillons (Joe Bongiorno) was done in by an early break. After subsequent substations of 1:28.3, 1:58 and 2:28, Bioness opened to three lengths into the lane. Though tiring, Bioness did hold sway over a handful of pursuers, winning by a length in 2:58. Adagio de la Tour (Jason Bartlett) closed from a loose pocket and wound up second, with Alpha D'Urzy (Louis-Philippe Roy) third. Ursis des Caillions did recover for fourth, with first leader Barry Black (Austin Siegelman) lasting for the last pay envelope. For fifth choice Bioness, a 7-year-old Sam Bourbon gelding owned by Northfork Racing Stable and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his third win in 13 seasonal starts (a second and two thirds in series prelims). The exacta paid $1,004, the triple returned $6,978 and the superfecta paid $43,653 (base $2 payout). The week's $44,000 Open Handicap Trot, at the old-fashioned flat mile, was won by down-the-road Obrigado (Mark MacDonald, $5.90) in 1:55.2 Sunday's final-for-a-while summer stock presentation of the 'New York, New York Double' featured a winning combination of 4-Ruler of the Nile (Saratoga's 1st race) and 6-Lord Cromwell (Yonkers' 3rd race), returning $18.70 for every correct $1 ticket. Total pool was $7,490. The next Sunday matinee is Nov. 4th (post time TBA). Note that the Raceway is dark for live racing Monday and Tuesday nights (Sept. 3rd and 4th), returning Thursday night (Sept. 6th), with the evening norm first post of 6:50 PM. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) wins the first of two divisions of New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshman harness racing trotting colts & geldings at Vernon Downs on Thursday (August 30) for a purse of $53,500. Chapter Fashion (Jason Bartlett) charged to the front and hit the first quarter in :27.4. Gimpanzee ($2.10) followed in the pocket. Trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant Inc., and S R F Stable, he would take over just before getting to the half first in :57.0 and cruise into three-quarters in 1:25.4. Chapter Fashion would stay close in second. As they hit the stretch Gimpanzee found another gear and recorded a lifetime best mark to win in 1:54.3. Chapter Fashion was easily second best. Our White Knight (Jim Morrill Jr.) came up to finish third. Gimpanzee is a colt by Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows. He is a perfect five for five in his career. Thunder (Jason Bartlett) takes the second division ($54,500) of the NYSS for trotting colts & geldings. Thunder ($6.30) went right to the front but Brady Bunch (Andy Miller) went first-over and took the lead before hitting the first quarter in :27.4. Thunder, who is trained by John Butenschoen for owners Crawford Farms Racing , Jeremy Day, and VIP Internet Stable LLC., re-claimed the lead and led them to a half of :57.4. He would lead them to three-quarters in 1:27.1. Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr.) came up to challenge around the last turn but Thunder was too strong and flew home in the stretch to win in a lifetime best of 1:55.4. Chip Chip Conway would settle for second with Brady Bunch earning third money. Thunder is a colt by Conway Hall-Cr Oh Suzanna. It was his third win in six lifetime starts. Vernon downs returns to live racing on Friday (August 31) for a 10 race card starting at 6:10 p.m. by John Horne, for Vernon Downs

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 29, 2018-It began innocently enough, back in 1984, with the harness racing pacer Alicia Blue Chip at Vernon Downs. The lass, same as the driver, won just that lone race that season.... ...but while 'Alicia' would go on to win just 22 more races during her career, her driver would notch another 10,000-and counting-during his. It was a bit more than 24 hours after Brian Sears reached that milestone when he sat back and mused about the milestone. "It's meaningful for me," Sears said during a Yonkers Raceway work night. The irony that the 50-year-old Sears reached five figures while driving a trotter named Chasin' Dreams in Westchester Sunday afternoon (Aug. 26th) was not lost on him. "The relationships I've maintained," he said. "I appreciate all the owners, trainers and grooms that have supported me over the years." Sears made sure to save the premier plaudits for his family. "My dad (Jay) taught me how to be a horsemen and he took the brunt of it, because I had to learn with his horses. "He and my sister, Jennifer, who's also an accomplished horseperson, have helped me more than anyone." As good a big-money driver as harness racing has ever seen-career purses in excess of $186 million ranks him sixth all-time-there isn't a trophy out there without Sears' name etched somewhere. So what stands out? "I can't name them all, but my first Hambletonian (Muscle Hill-2009), first Meadowlands Pace (Rocknroll Hanover-2005), winning the (2017) Yonkers Trot (Top Flight Angel) and Messenger (Downbytheseaside) the same night. Those are races I definitely remember." While the Harness Hall of Famer (Class of 2016) has been the leading driver at every venue he's hung his helmet full-time, he credits the Meadows-where he moved his base in 1994--for starting his career. "I had opportunities there to learn and work on my craft," he said. "I would drive against Dave Palone and Dave Miller and learn from them." Another irony not lost on Sears is the fact that the next generation is now learning from him. "We're the old guys in the room now," he said while seated next to George Brennan (his words, George, not ours)."But it's still fun. I enjoy it out there." "The game has changed. The biggest difference today is there are no breathers during the race. Horse carry their speed much farther than they used to, so we have to be more aggressive." And with that, Sears left one seat for another. Next up...11,000. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, August 26, 2018-Brian Sears won the 10,000th race of his more-than-distinguished harness racing career Sunday afternoon (Aug. 26th), reaching the milestone at his second home, Yonkers Raceway. Sears, as good a big-money driver as the sport has ever seen, found the plateau with death-and-taxes Chasin' Dreams ($2.30) in the $16,000, ninth-race trot. The 3-year-old Credit Winner gelding quarter-moved to the lead, then defeated Striking Encore (Jason Bartlett) by a pair of lengths in 1:57.1. After the achievement, as required by state and federal law, Sears was presented with the obligatory congratulatory sign. He began the afternoon getting win No. 9,999 with favored Top Flight Angel ($5.40)-the 2017 Yonkers Trot winner-in the $44,000 Open Handicap Trot (1:54.3). The 50-year-old Sears, a native of Fort Lauderdale, FL, has career purse earnings in excess of $186 million. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

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