Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Jeff Gural and Brian Sears Issue Joint Statement


Jeff Gural (Chairman, New Meadowlands Racetrack, LLC)

Brian Sears (Among the Leading Drivers in North America)

Earlier today Jeff Gural and Brian Sears spoke by phone and decided to issue a joint statement regarding the issues that were brought to light last week:

Brian Sears said:

"I’m pleased that Jeff and I had a chance to get together and talk about the issues that came to a head last week. I’ve known Jeff for a long time and so I’m comfortable speaking my mind with him.

"I may have said some things in our conversation that didn’t come across very well.

"I respect the many good things that Jeff has done for harness racing and I’m glad that we can put our differences behind us and get back to a great summer of racing."

Said Gural:

"Brian is a friend of mine and I am glad we had a chance to clear the air this morning. Brian is a very talented driver and one of the best I have ever seen.

"Brian made some comments to me that particularly did not line up with my vision for harness racing but we have spoken about them and are moving forward.

"I completely understand why Brian makes the decision to race at Yonkers and he completely understands why I wish he would still race at the Meadowlands.

"At the end of the day, Brian must make the decision that is best for him as I make the decisions that are best for my three tracks.

"I told Brian he is welcome to race at any of my tracks (Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs) and hope that he will race at them often.

"We are both happy to put this behind us and move forward."














Written by Darin Zoccali of Harness Racing Update

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Goshen Historic Track Welcomes Hall of Fame Drivers July 6


By Ellen Harvey

Goshen Historic Track in New York will feature a power-packed field of drivers in the annual $10,000 Mr. & Mrs. Elbridge T. Gerry Sr. Memorial Trot, July 6. Post time is 1 p.m. for the card.

The race brings together a “Who’s Who” of harness racing talent, with seven members of the Hall of Fame and 2014 inductee David Miller participating in the event.

Expected to drive in the race are John Campbell, Wally Hennessey, Mike Lachance, Miller, Bill O’Donnell, Ron Pierce, Dick Stillings, and Jimmy Takter. Collectively, they have won 20 Little Brown Jugs and 16 Hambletonians, along with nearly 64,000 races and $1.14 billion in purses.

Miller will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday night in a ceremony at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, located adjacent to Historic Track.

The race honors the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry; their sons Elbridge and Peter will be on hand to present the trophy.

After the race, the drivers will be on hand to meet fans and autograph photos.

Goshen Historic Track is located at 44 Park Place in Goshen; admission is $5 for adults (includes program) and children are free. For more information, go to http://www.goshenhistorictrack.com or call 845-294-6330.


Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

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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

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