Friday, June 20, 2014
Jeff Gural statement regarding Brian Sears
From the Meadowlands Media Relations Department
Editor's Note: The following is a statement from Jeff Gural, Chairman, New Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, regarding the recent news that Brian Sears would be excluded from driving in non-stakes races at The Meadowlands.
“I like to think that all that know me in our industry recognize that I have been a tireless advocate for the highest in professional standards and best practices for our professionals and for the horses they drive. I ask that all those -- drivers, trainers, owners -- who join me in this sport that we love, abide by these standards.
"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. Back in May, after Andy Miller was injured and David Miller received a concussion, I called Brian and asked if under the circumstances with two drivers out would he come back and drive on the weekends to fill in the void. He said no, which is his right.
"With the beginning of the 2-year-old baby races and with our major stakes coming up in July I thought it best that Brian not drive in these qualifiers given his decision not to help out in those circumstances. Candidly, I was quite disappointed when he refused to help out when Andy and David went down with injuries.
"Brian then called me and once again I asked him to come back for at least the last six weeks of the meet and, as I knew he would be driving on Saturdays with all the other leading drivers at either Mohawk or Pocono. I did not think asking him to drive a couple of Fridays was such a big deal since obviously in July he would be driving on Saturdays at the Meadowlands anyway.
Brian made some comments to me that I thought differed from my standards as to how to conduct a race meet. In the end he agreed to come over and drive for the last six weeks of the meet. We asked Brian if it would be okay to let people know that he was coming back so he would get as many drives as possible. He told us that he preferred we did not do that as he would get the word out to the trainers on his own.
"I thought that was the end of it and looked forward to having him back since he is such a talented driver. Brian drove in some qualifiers and on Monday, when we opened the box, I saw that he was only down on one horse. I immediately called Jason (Settlemoir) and told him to tell the judges to try to get Brian as many mounts as possible so he would not complain.
Jason called me the next morning and told me that he saw that Brian was down to drive at Yonkers on Friday and when he called Brian he told Jason that since he did not get any work it did not make sense for him to come to the Meadowlands.
"I was very disappointed but it soon occurred to me that Brian and I had a major difference over the standards that we choose to apply at the Meadowlands, and it would not be in the best interest of the Meadowlands to allow him to race.
I knew I would get heat from many of the owners who use Brian on their stakes horses but I thought I would deal with that separately and probably let him drive as I did not want to hurt any of the owners who spend their money buying yearlings or raising them at their farms.
"The truth is I actually like Brian although I have been extremely disappointed that he chose to abandon the Meadowlands and especially that he would not do me the small favor when Andy and David went down. I remember last year when he won the Hambletonian, I gave him a big hug and congratulated him because he is a great driver.
"Brian called me yesterday but I did not have a chance to return the call as I am on vacation in Colorado celebrating my 50th college reunion with old friends. Hopefully we can speak next week when I get back and resolve the matter as I was just trying to get his attention and not to start World War III in the industry."
United States Trotting Association
Written by Darin Zoccali
of Harness Racing Update
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
USTA Release: The Rivalry Continues
By Ken Weingartner
As the 2013 racing season came to an end, the most anticipated race of the year featured the sport’s most recent Pacer of the Year Award winners – Captaintreacherous and Foiled Again.
On Saturday, the two stars will renew their acquaintance in the first of two eliminations for the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older pacers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Foiled Again, a 10-year-old who is the richest harness racing horse in North American history, won their first encounter in November’s $512,000 TVG Free For All Series championship. Captaintreacherous, who was trying to become the first 3-year-old to defeat older stakes rivals since Niatross in 1980, finished sixth.
Now at the age of 4, Captaintreacherous will face older rivals on a regular basis. And it begins Saturday.
“I felt good with the way he ended up last year,” trainer Tony Alagna said about Captaintreacherous. “He finished sixth, but he was only beaten two lengths by the best aged horses out there. That showed a lot, with as tough of a 3-year-old campaign that he had. I think he’s definitely going to be a force in the open division.”
Saturday’s two Ben Franklin Pace eliminations are part of a card that also includes two eliminations for the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Stakes for 3-year-old trotters, three eliminations for the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers, and three eliminations for the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers.
Captaintreacherous, who was named the Dan Patch Award-winning Pacer of the Year in 2012 and 2013, has won 22 of 27 career races and earned $3.02 million for the Captaintreacherous Racing ownership group.
He won his 2014 debut last Friday at the Meadowlands, beating a field of 4-year-olds in the $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity, which pushed him past Presidential Ball to No. 13 in purses among all pacers in history.
Captaintreacherous started the Maturity from post 10 and took the lead on the backstretch on his way to a 1:49 2/5 triumph.
“I was very happy with his first start,” Alagna said. “There’s always concern, first start coming back, drawing the 10 hole against horses that already had some starts under their belts, but off three qualifiers – especially the last one – we thought he was ready to go. He raced very well.”
Captaintreacherous and driver Tim Tetrick used a :27 move during the Maturity’s second quarter to take the lead. They settled into a :28 2/5 third quarter before coming home in :27.
“I liked the way he moved up the backside,” Alagna said. “He really went to the backside strong, which is good because he’s going to have to learn a little bit more maneuverability this year against those types of horses. Like always, he came right back to Timmy and was very quiet in the third quarter and when he called on him at the head of the lane he sprinted off.
“He was doing his best pacing at the wire, so I was very happy about that.”
Captaintreacherous won five of six starts at Pocono Downs last year. He won the Breeders Crown in October, two months after suffering his only setback at the northeast Pennsylvania oval, losing the Battle of the Brandywine by a nose to Sunshine Beach in a world-record 1:47 4/5.
“We raced him at Pocono as a 3-year-old and he was very good over the track,” Alagna said. “Of course, it’s a different group of horses, but we think he’s ready to go.”
Foiled Again has won 80 of 207 races and earned $6.25 million. He has won four of nine races this year and only once finished worse than third. He comes into the Franklin elim off a second-place finish in last weekend’s $92,000 Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational.
The top four finishers from each of the two Franklin eliminations advance to the final on June 28. Also advancing will be the fastest fifth-place finisher.
In the first elim, the field in post order is Domethatagain, Bettor’s Edge, Sunfire Blue Chip, Captaintreacherous, Foiled Again, Sunshine Beach, and Beach Memories. The second elim is Captive Audience, Modern Legend, Sweet Lou, Allstar Legend, Clear Vision, Rockin Amadeus, and Bolt The Duer.
Saturday’s Earl Beal Jr. Memorial elims feature Father Patrick, who was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. Father Patrick is 3-for-3 this season and has won 13 of 14 lifetime races.
Uffizi Hanover, who won last weekend’s Fan Hanover Stakes, is among the 3-year-old filly hopefuls in the Lynch Memorial while Art Rooney Pace winner All Bets Off is among the 3-year-old male pacers in the Hempt.
-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit http://www.ustrotting.com
Written by John Pricci
of Harness Racing Update
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Allstar Legend Dominates at The Meadowlands
East Rutherford, June 13, 2014--Allstar Legend was on a mission Saturday night at The Meadowlands in the featured 11th race, a Free-For-All Handicap Pace.
Scratched down to a field of five, Mike Lachance powered Allstar Legend right around Golden Receiver early, hitting the opening quarter in 25.3.
Lachance rated Allstar Legend through a 58-second middle half, leaving Golden Receiver behind turning for home and powering away to win easily as the 8/5 favorite.
Stablemate Ultimate Beachboy rallied from last to be second with Sam Hill checking in third. The mile was timed in 1:50. Allstar Legend is trained by Ron Burke for Brittany Farms and John Cherveny.
The second round of the Caramore series was contested Saturday night at The Meadowlands with three divisions.
Tell Us More made it a perfect two for two in the series, winning impressively in 1:50.1. Sent off as the even-money favorite, Tell Us More went right to the lead again and never looked back, ripping off fractions of 26.4, 54 and 1:22 before drawing clear again to win by three lengths for Jim Marshall III.
The final time of 1:50.1 once again lowered the four year olds lifetime mark, which was set last week when he won the first division of the Caramore in 1:50.2. On The Radar and Pembroke Dewey were second and third throughout the mile. Jim Marshall III drove the winner for trainer James Siegelman and owner Michael Casalino Jr.
The second division went to Andwin Hanover who pulled off the 10-1 upset for Vincent Ginsburg. Andwin Hanover took the fight to his competition early, clearing the lead at the opening quarter in 26.1 before flying through the half in 53.3 and three-quarters in 1:22.1.
Ginsburg called on his horse for everything nearing the wire and was able to fend off the oncoming King Point, a 38-1 shot himself, to win in 1:52. Reflection of Blue rallied to be third. The winner is trained by Mel Owens for Rosanne Owens.
The third Caramore split wrapped up the Saturday night card and went to Grab Your Keys who chased down the speedster Duel In The Sun, who wheeled off fractions of 27.1, 54.2 and 1:21.3, putting up consistent 27.1 quarters until he was collared in the stretch. Grab Your Keys rallied for Marcus Miller, giving him a hat trick on the program. The winner is trained by Michael Fiumenero for Sam Demchak and Brian Bennett.
The victory was the third in a row for Grab Your Keys and established a new lifetime mark of 1:50.1.
Written by Darin Zoccali
of Harness Racing Update