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YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 15, 2018-Such an Angel (Brian Sears, $14.60) did it quite well Sunday afternoon (July 15th), winning Yonkers Raceway's featured $54,800 Open Handicap Trot. The weekly trotting feature went as the late-morning opener, the first of four, mile-and-a-quarter, bigger-field 'French' forays. Away third from post position No. 5, Such an Angel saw lass Weslynn Dancer (Jason Bartlett) serve as the 28-second opening act before yielding to a wide-early In Secret (George Brennan). The one's lead in the polls continued through a :57.2 half before Such an Angel moved with purpose. The challenger took over right by the 1:27 three-quarters, then opened up some overcast daylight. While this was transpiring, an out-every-step Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron), as the 1-2 favorite, continued to advance from his eight-hole impost. However, he found himself with too much work to do as Such an Angel-after a 1:55 milepost- widened to 3¼ lengths in and out of the final turn. The leader finished it off in a good-track 2:24.2...matching the distance record for a 4-year-old gelding (Hemi Seelster). Marion Marauder trimmed the final margin by a length-and-a-quarter while easily second. In Secret, Mostinterestingman (Steve Smith) and Charmed Life (Mark MacDonald) grabbed the minors. For third choice Such an Angel, a previously-mentioned 4-year-old (statebred Credit Winner) gelding owned by Sam Caruso Jr. and trained by Hunter Oakes, it was his sixth win in 15 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $32.80, the triple returned $113.50 and the superfecta paid $714. Sunday's final seasonal Belmont rendition of the 'New York, New York Double' featured a winning combination of 1-Hay Field (Belmont's 3rd race) and 2-Beach Memories (Yonkers' 10th race) returned $20.20 (hindsight?) for every correct $1 ticket. Total pool was $5,673. The next Sunday matinee is July 22nd (post time TBA). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - McWicked continued to turn back the clock, holding off Filibuster Hanover by a half-length to win Saturday's $471,100 William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers in 2:02.2 at the distance of 1 1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. Rockin Ron finished third. McWicked, a 7-year-old stallion, was a Dan Patch Award winner at age 3 in 2014. He has won five of seven races this year, including the Ben Franklin Pace on June 30, and earned $543,911 for owner Ed James' SSG Stables. Rockin Ron led the field to the opening quarter, in :25.4, before yielding the top spot to Sintra, who took the group to the half in :55, and three-quarters in 1:22.4. McWicked and driver Brian Sears were sixth through the early portion of the race, but followed the cover of Check Six to work their way to second at the top of the stretch. McWicked took the lead in the lane, but still had work to do to fend off the charge of Filibuster Hanover to his inside. "I was trying to get him someplace in the hunt early and get in some type of flow," Sears said. "The horse has been super sharp his last few starts. I was just hoping to get some kind of trip and it worked out great. "(Filibuster Hanover) was digging pretty good on the inside, but my horse kicked it in right to the wire and was very sharp. He's just a sweet horse, so easy to drive, and gives you everything he's got." McWicked, the 4-5 favorite, paid $3.60 to win. As a 3-year-old, McWicked won 12 of 23 races and earned $1.47 million. He was winless in a combined 14 races at ages 4 and 5 because of breathing issues and multiple throat surgeries, but bounced back last year with seven victories in 27 races and $560,025. For his career, McWicked has won 27 of 81 starts and $2.86 million. "This horse, every single time he races, is absolutely unbelievable," McWicked's trainer Casie Coleman said. "He gives everything he's got every time he's on the track. He's just a pleasure of a horse." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Contacting through the SOA of NY, this morning harness racing driver Brian Sears issued the following statement pertaining to not be able to race in the Meadowlands Pace. Jeff Gural and I had several discussions earlier in the year. He made it known what he expected from me. I agreed to go to the Meadowlands in June during the break at Yonkers. After contemplating what opportunities I might have there, I went a different route. I'm pleased that we have come to an agreement that works for all parties and allows me to race at the Meadowlands and fulfill my commitments to the owners and trainers that have invested so much in our game. No further information was provided about what the agreement agreed to.        

Late last night, the Meadowlands management sent a response to www.harnessracingupdate.com pertaining to the situation with Brian Sears being barred from competing Saturday night in the Meadowlands Pace. At the end of last year (track owner) Jeff Gural and (COO) Jason Settlemoir met with all of the drivers that compete regularly at The Meadowlands, including Brian Sears. It was explained to them that if they wanted to drive at Yonkers from Jan through June don’t expect to show up in July to drive horses in our major stakes. Everyone understood and we made it clear that this rule did not apply to the Levy or Matchmaker or any other stakes races, only to overnights. Brett Miller, Yannick Gingras and Corey Callahan drove at The Meadowlands over the winter, though not every night, but they did not drive at Yonkers. Dave Miller and Brian Sears spent the winter in Florida and David began driving at the Meadowlands when he came back. Tim Tetrick took the winter off and came back after the Levy. Sears asked if he could come back after Yonkers closed for 10 days at the end of May and he did come back for that weekend’s racing. He then called Jeff and told him he had decided he did not want to be driving on the Grand Circuit and endure all the travel and inconvenience. Jeff said that was his decision and he understood; assuming this issue would not arise since most trainers of Grand Circuit horses expect their driver to travel around to Canada, Indiana, PA, Ohio and Lexington. And not just show up at the Meadowlands. Truthfully, we are surprised this became an issue since Jeff likes Brian, thinks he is a great driver and respects his desire to slow down as evidenced by his decision to take the winter off. Brian Sears is not a victim here; he advised that as a lifestyle matter he wasn’t looking for what a racing on the Grand Circuit requires and we respect that. We appreciated the commitment and rigorous schedule maintained by our drives who are Grand Circuit drivers. Up to now the only reason there is racing at the Meadowlands is because Jeff has subsidized the operating losses and overpaid the purse account by millions of dollars. With the help of many sponsors the lights have remained on and the lucrative stakes program intact. Seeing the hand writing on the wall with the dramatic decline in entries as evidenced by the fewer races, short field and lower handle has compelled Jeff along with Mike Gulotta, the SBOANJ and Dennis Drazin at Monmouth Park to work tirelessly these last few months to convince the state of the importance of horse racing in the state. Together they have requested that the state restore the $30 million-dollar purse subsidy that Gov. Christie redirected to AC advising politicians that without that money it would be impossible for The Meadowlands to continue to race when the PA tracks are open and also impossible to maintain the existing stakes schedule, which is what makes Meadowlands the leading harness track in the country, if not the world. Unfortunately, the subsidy was not included in the budget passed last week; however Jeff and the others have not given up and hope to have that added to a supplement budget which hopefully will happen in the fall. In the meantime, everyone should enjoy the next five weeks of major stakes and the 2-year-olds racing on Saturday’s Breakfast With The Babies culminating with the richest race of the year, the Hambletonian. From the management at the Meadowlands

MANALAPAN, NJ -- July 4, 2018 -- It was brought to our attention last night that Brian Sears was not permitted to be listed on the Jimmy Takter trained Meadowlands Pace Elimination entrant THINKBIG DREAMBIG, scheduled for the sixth race this Saturday night at the Meadowlands. After speaking with both parties, it is apparent that this is a personal issue. We strongly disagree with the Meadowlands decision and the SBOANJ will continue to work toward a resolution. From Mark Ford, president of the SBOANJ  

World renown harness racing driver and inductee to the Hall of Fame, Brian Sears has been barred from racing in the elimination divisions of the $700,000 Meadowlands Pace on Saturday, July 7 at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ. It had been four years since Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural first barred Sears from the track. That dispute began on Friday, June 20, 2014 when Sears told Gural that he was going to drive at Yonkers Raceway and not at the Meadowlands except for stakes events. Trainer Jimmy Takter had listed Sears to drive the three-year-old pacer, Thinkbig Dreambig, in the 6th race this Saturday, but when the draw for post positions took place, there was no driver listed for Thinkbig Dreambig, who drew post position seven. Because the Meadowlands Pace is owned by the Meadowlands Racetrack, Gural is allowed to say who can and who cannot compete in their stakes race. Sears had this to say about the barring. “Well, I heard that since it is a Meadowlands race,” Sears explained. “He (Jeff Gural) and keep me out. It’s very disheartening and I’m tired of the unnecessary drama that I have to deal with. I just hope it doesn’t pertain to other stakes races. I’m tired of the silliness.” When contacted for a comment on the Brian Sears situation, Jeff Gural’s response was very simple. “Go ask him.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Wilkes-Barre, PA --- McWicked, perfectly-placed second-over, swung three-wide late on the far turn and had an overwhelming late kick to come up a 1:49.3 winner while taking the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace final on Saturday (June 30) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Ron Burke-trained threesome of Filibuster Hanover, Rockin Ron, and All Bets Off got away 1-2-3 by the :26.2 first panel, with McWicked fourth early. As the outer tier formed early, it looked like McWicked and driver Brian Sears might have to come first-over, but past the three-eighths All Bets Off pulled from third, giving cover which helped McWicked's chances. The middle splits were pedestrian, :55 and 1:22.2, with All Bets Off continuing his grind against pacesetting Filibuster Hanover, and McWicked readying to mount a wide charge. That charge commenced near the top of the stretch, and when McWicked started his kick, the only thing in doubt was the winning margin, which was 1-1/2 lengths over Rockin Ron, who parlayed prime pocket position for place; 99-1 Mac's Jackpot also used an inside trip to get a high finish, coming home third, just nipped for second. "It was good that I had sort of a 'slow second-over' trip, going up towards the front," Sears noted post-race, confident in the stretch strength of his son of McArdle-Western Sahara, who also won the 2014 Hempt, in a stakes record of 1:47.3 which still stands. In a career of continuing stardom, McWicked, now seven, boosted his earnings to $2,646,362 in only 80 career starts. The Franklin champion is owned by the S S G Stables of North Boston, N.Y., and was the only favorite in the night's four major races. Split The House, the 2017 Breeders Crown winner among the older pacers, was given a canny drive by Brian Sears to take the $75,000 Franklin Pace Consolation in 1:49. Sears stayed third-in at the half after Boogie Shuffle had taken the field to the quarter in :26.4 and favored Mach It So moved to the lead and passed the half in :55. Dealt A Winner pulled uncovered and heatedly battled the winner to the 1:21.1 three-quarters; when the second-over couldn't keep up, Sears slipped out then went wide on the far turn and tracked down 55-1 shot Boogie Shuffle, who got the lead midstretch in the Pocono Pike, by a half-length. Spilt The House is a Rocknroll Hanover gelding trained by Chris Oakes for Crawford Farms Racing. He boosted his lifetime bankroll to $643,833 while victorious in only his second start of the campaign. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Here are photos of the big winners on Sun Stakes Saturday at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs. Photos by Raymond Lance and Curtis Salonick. Brian Sears won two Sun Stakes as he captured the $500,000 Ben Franklin Open Pace Final with McWicked for trainer Casie Colemen in 1:49.3. In the $500,000 Max Hempt Final for three-year-old pacers saw Springsteen a 15-1 upset winner by a head for driver Simon Allard in 1:48.3. The $500,000 Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial for three-year-old trotters saw Crystal Fashion and driver Tim Tetrick win in 1:51.4. In the $300,000 James Lynch Memorial for three-year-old pacing fillies, it was Kissin In The Sand and driver Scott Zeron, roughing it out on the outside against Yourmycandygirl and just getting up at the finish in 1:49.3. With a great burst of speed in the stretch, Split The House and driver Brian Sears nipped Boogie Shuffle (Dave Miller) at the wire to win the $75,000 Ben Franklin consolaton pace in 1:49.  Split The House won by half a length. Dealt A Winner (Brett Miller) was third. Split The House went off at odds of 14-1 and paid $31.20 to win.  A tick or so faster was Courtly Choice and driver David Miller as they won the $75,000 Max Hempt consolation race in 1:48.4. Brett Miller and Fifydallarbill were able to hold off Moosonee and driver Tim Tetrick to win the $75,000 Earl Beal Jr. Consoltation Trot in 1:52.1. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 25, 2018-Tequila Monday (Brian Sears, $12.20), last season's Lismore Pace victress, found some near-anniversary symmetry Friday night (May 25th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Unhurried from post position No. 6, Tequila Monday saw a trio of leavers in the presence of Call Me Queen Be (Eric Goodell), Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett) and 1-2 choice Newborn Sassy (Jordan Stratton). It was Call Me Queen Be doing the early work, as in subsections of :26.2 and :55.4. Newborn Sassy, after finding an eight-seat, made her second move. She engaged the leader in and out of a 1:23.3 three-quarters, with pole-assigned Motu Moonbeam N (Brent Holland) behind that one and Tequila Monday looking at it from third-over. In and out of the final turn, Newborn Sassy was about to win the battle, but lose the war. In a search of a third consecutive distaff derby, she put away Call Me Queen Be. However, Tequila Monday, who went wide down the backside, sustained her bid and edged way. She whipped Newborn Sassy by a length-and-three-quarters in 1:52. Third went to Call Me Queen Be, with Annabeth (Mark MacDonald) and Lady Shadow settling for the minors. For second choice Tequila Monday, a 4-year-old statebred daughter of American Ideal co-owned by Northfork Racing Stable & Chuck Pompey and trained by Hunter Oakes, it was her first win in three seasonal starts (career earnings up and over $600,000). The exacta paid $32.40, the triple returned $180 and the superfecta paid $587. Yonkers' Saturday night (May 26th) program-the final one before hiatus-offers finals of the Art Rooney Pace (purse $300,000) and the companion event, the $111,444 Lismore (see how this all comes together). The races goes as No. 5 and 6 during the dozen-race card, with first post at 6:50 PM. 14th Lismore...1-Soliditary (Holland, 12-1), 2-Jewels Forreal (Dan Dube, 9-2), 3-Believe in Me (Sears, 9-1), 4-Pass Line Bluechip (Bartlett, 8-5), 5-Python Blue Chip (George Brennan, 6-1), 6-Alexa's Power (Tim Tetrick, 5-1), 7- Checkered Past (MacDonald, 20-1), 8-Reign on Me (Brett Miller, 7-1) 28th Art Rooney Pace...(1-Minnie Vinnie, Tetrick, 6-1), 2-Kwik Talkin' (Brennan, 5-1), 3-Springsteen (Sears, 9-5), 4-Trump Nation (Bartlett, 3-1). 5-Jimtastic (Goodell, 20-1), 6-Major Authority (MacDonald, 20-1), 7- Babes Dig Me (Brett Miller, 10-1), 8-Decoy (Dave Miller, 7-1) After Saturday, live racing (and evening simulcasting) returns Friday, June 8th. by Frank Drucker, for Empire City@Yonkers  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 22, 2017 - All About Madi (Brian Sears, $11) made the lead and that was that Friday night (Sept. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. In a race with not much speed, it was a two-speed number. 'Madi,' from post position No. 5, worked around pole-sitting Jag Out (George Brennan), grabbing the baton before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. She then rated a :30.1 next substation (:57.4 half). Call Me Queen Be (Jim Marohn Jr.) was away third at the 11-10 choice, but didn't get off the cones as Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) made her second move. That one towed HP Sissy (Dan Dube) into it going toward the 1:25.2 three-quarters. Off those intervals, All About Madi should have had something in reserve, and she did. Taking a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane, 'Madi' held off Jag Out by a three-quarters of a length in 1:53.3. 'Sissy' was third, with a from-last 47-1 outsider Newborn Sassy (Tyler Buter) and 'Queen Be' settling for the remainder. For third choice All About Madi, a 4-year-old daughter of Brandon's Cowboy owned and trained by Brittany Robertson, it was her eighth win (third consecutive) in 25 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $44.80, with the triple returning $230.50. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Sept. 23rd) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,426.47. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, September 15, 2017- All About Madi (Brian Sears, $9.60) wedged into an early pocket and it served her well Friday night (Sept. 15th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $50,000 harness racing filly and mare 'Open Handicap Pace'. In play from post position No. 3, 'Madi' had some company, including pole-assigned, 19-1 number Acefourtyfour Alex (Brent Holland) and 3-2 fave Regil Elektra (Jason Bartlett). All About Madi used some discretion-along with a vacant two-hole-to take a seat, while Regil Elektra found herself hung to dry by the longshot from the inside. Intervals of :26.4, :55.2 and 1:23.4 finished off Regil Elektra, but Acefourtyfour Alex continued her advantage. She owned a length-and-quarter lead into the lane, but faltered late. All About Madi moved inside and whipped a ground-saving Betabcool N (Eric Goodell) by a neck in 1:53.2. The latter edged the pace-setter for second, with Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton) and Venus Delight (Joe Bongiorno) rounding out the payees. Regil Elektra faded to sixth. For third choice All About Madi, a 4-year-old daughter of Brandon's Cowboy owned and trained by Brittany Robertson, it was her seventh win in 24 seasonal starts (first try in local femme feature). The exacta paid $164, the triple returned $729 and the superfecta paid $5,787. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (Sept. 16th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $2,484.90.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

Columbus, OH --- After Rockin Ron (Matt Kakaley) blew by Mel Mara (Dave Palone) like the 2-1 public selection was standing still it appeared the harness racing  trophy for the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial would clearly belong to his connections. McWicked, however, had other plans as he and Brian Sears unleashed a scintillating rally through the passing lane to score by a neck in 1:49.3 on Saturday (Sept. 9) at Eldorado Scioto Downs. “I won the 3-year-old Breeders Crown championship with this horse,” said Sears. “You have to ask him a little more than you used to when he was younger but he still has that speed.” As expected speedster Luck Be Withyou (post five, Aaron Merriman) immediately left the gate to take command. After leading the field of 10 swift older pacers through an opening quarter-mile in :26.1, Palone gave Mel Mara his cue and the stallion responded with a first-over move to take the lead through a half-mile in :54.2. The world champion’s stint on top would be short lived as Rockin Ron was loaded with pace and overhauled Mel Mara from fourth in a flash shortly before 1:21.3 for the three-quarters was posted on the board. In a moment Rockin Ron (9-2) not only passed Mel Mara but left him completely in his wake by several lengths. As the field strode toward the final turn, it seemed Rockin Ron was going to collect an emphatic victory, as Check Six (Chris Page), Boston Red Rocks (Josh Sutton) and McWicked all had plenty of work to do from sixth, third and fourth, respectively. As Rockin Ron disposed of Check Six and Boston Red Rocks, McWicked was winding up along the inside and gaining on the leader with every inch. As Sears urged him on, the 6-year-old stallion edged past Rockin Ron with a :27.2 final panel to annex the race. Rockin Ron held for second while Boston Red Rocks and Check Six dead-heated for third place. Owned by Ed James and conditioned by Casie Coleman, 2014 Dan Patch Award winner McWicked boosted his career bankroll past the $2 million mark and collected the 22nd win of his 68-race career. The stallion suffered from breathing problems as a 4-year-old which caused him to miss nearly all of the 2015 season and abbreviated his campaign last year. In 2017, McWicked has compiled a record of 21-7-3-2 after those issues were rectified. “Casie has trained him on and off throughout his career and she has really done a great job with him,” Sears, who also won the Jug Preview with Downbytheseaside earlier on the card, said. “I’m just very happy I received the opportunity to drive him tonight and that I was able to win with him again.” Introduced in 2013, the race honors the late Jim Ewart, who was the race secretary at Scioto Downs from 1976 through 2002. Ewart, who worked as a race secretary at 18 different tracks in North America, plus Australia and New Zealand, died in 2012. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Yonkers, NY --- World champion Downbytheseaside (Brian Sears) withstood a late charge from two rivals to win the $540,000 Messenger Stake final for harness racing 3-year-old colt pacers in 1:52.1 on Saturday night (Sept. 2) at Yonkers Raceway by a nose. Sears completed the Messenger/Yonkers Trot double when he steered Top Flight Angel to victory by the very same margin in the aforementioned contest later on a card that also included the Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud Pace. Downbytheseaside and Sears got away from the gate to make the lead just past the :27.1 first quarter, with Blood Line (Mark MacDonald) tucked in behind. Those two led the field to the half in :56 and to the three-quarters in 1:24.1. They were still on top at the head of the stretch but a charge was developing from horses on both sides. Art Scene (Jordan Stratton) came charging on the inside late and was second and Funknwaffles (Corey Callahan) was third on his outside. Downbyheseaside held them off to win by a nose. Downbytheseaside is owned by Country Club Acres, Sbrocco, Lombardo and Diamond Creek Farm; he’s trained by Brian Brown. “It’s a little different trip tonight,” said Sears. “He had the seven hole tonight so he had to do some decent work early. It’s a battle every week and there was a lot of speed in the race.” The win price was $2.10 on the 1-9 shot, there was no place or show wagering.  The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Sprig Hanover improved his 2017 record to 12-8-1-2 and became the sport's latest millionaire with the victory. Downbytheseaside Yonkers Trot Top Flight Angel (Brian Sears) was a nose the best in the $580,000 Yonkers Trot in 1:56.3 for 3-year-olds. Devious Man and Andy Miller got away with the lead off the gate to hit the quarter mile mark in :28.4 and held that lead to the :58.4 half, with Yes Mickey (Ake Svanstadt) along the rail in second racing with a new Murphy Blind on the left side and Top Flight Angel in third. Devious Man was still on the lead at the 1:27.3 three-quarters, but there was a gathering storm behind him, with both Yes Mickey along the inside and Top Flight Angel on the outside. In the end it was a win by a nose for Top Flight Angel over Yes Mickey, with Devious Man in third. The win earns Top Flight Angel an automatic invitation for the Yonkers International, to be held Oct. 14 and improved his seasonal slate to 12-3-1-3. Top Flight Angel by Archangel is owned by Legendary Standardbred Farm of New York and trained by Julie Miller. “I was hoping Brian could get out of there from the two-hole,” said Miller. “It’s a huge accomplishment, Andy [her husband] and I work very hard and I’m glad Brian got it done.” “It wasn’t the way we drew it up but we got out of there the best we could,” said Sears. “I sat as long as I could but by the three-quarter pole, I was pretty happy. The horse went a great mile tonight.” Also part of the evening's events were the Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud Pace. Top Flight Angel Hudson Filly Trot Celebrity Ruth and driver Jason Bartlett took the direct route to the winners circle to win the $119,010 Hudson Filly Trot in wire to wire fashion by a 1-3/4 lengths in 1:56.3 on Saturday night at Yonkers Raceway.  Celebrity Ruth and Bartrlett hit every fraction on top,:28.1 to the quarter, :58.2 to the half and 1:27.2 to the three-quarters. In the last turn, Sunshine Delight and driver Brian Sears were poised on the outside of the eventual winner but that one went on a break and lost all chance. Chapter Too (Jeff Gregory) was along the rail behind the leader and held that position to the wire. Mamora Bay was third.  “Any size track fits her and last week we were disappointed in her race [she was fifth by three lengths in the Zweig filly race] but come to find out after the race she tied up,” said Bartlett. “So that’s the reason why she didn’t win last week. I’ve got to thank Trond, he drives most of the horses he trains, so I have to thank him for that.”  Celebrity Ruth by Archangel is trained by Trond Smedshammer and owned by White Birch Farm.  Celebrity Ruth Lady Maud Pace The $113,880 Lady Maud for 3-year-old trotting fillies was won by a nose in 1:54 by World Apart and Jason Bartlett on Saturday at Yonkers Raceway. The track was rated good after a steady rain earlier in the night.  World Apart charged out of the gate to briefly get the lead before being overtaken past the :27.1 quarter mile mark by Angel’s Pride (Matt Kakaley), who held the lead through the :56.1 half and the 1:24.3 three-quarters. As the field turned to the homestretch, Bartlett had World Apart off the rail and pressuring Angel’s Pride all the way down the stretch until she finally got a nose in front for the win. Angels Pride was second and Robin J was third.  World Apart by Art Major is owned by South Mountain Stables, Bay’s Stable, Little E Stable and Radio Racing Stable. Linda Toscano is the trainer.   Ella Christina was a late judges scratch in the race. It was announced that the scratch was due to a fall on the track scoring down prior to the race.  World Apart by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications 

YONKERS, N.Y. - After sitting behind Downbytheseaside in his 8 1/2-length romp in the Messenger Stakes Elimination at Yonkers Raceway last week, harness racing driver Brian Sears likes the way the 3-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere is coming into the $500,000 Final and second leg of the Pacing Triple Crown Saturday night. Sears drove Downbytheseaside through a :56.0 half last week and was a passenger as Downbytheseaside opened 6 lengths racing into the lane and powered away with a :27.2 final quarter. “He really did that under his own. I never even asked him. He just knew it was time to pick it up and that was all without asking. He’s a really nice horse and he’s getting better and better about his manners. Hopefully he keeps progressing.” Sears will drive Downbytheseaside for the eighth straight time in Saturday’s Messenger Final, the fourth race on a stakes-laden card. The newly anointed hall of famer is happy with the progress Downbytheseaside has made since he picked up the drive in the North America Cup at Mohawk June 17. “A couple weeks ago, he sat in behind a :56.0 pace,” Sears said. “I don’t know if he could have done that before or he wasn’t really willing to do that. He would get a little bully when he wanted to go and you had to pretty much be on the move with him at that point. He seems to be working with me a little bit.” Downbytheseaside showed all the fire Sears described in the North America Cup. After Sears placed him in fourth behind a :25.2 opening quarter, Downbytheseaside dictated his own terms and followed Fillibuster Hanover’s brush to the lead. Downbytheseaside paced through a half in :52.1 and 6 furlongs in 1:19.3 before finishing third to stablemate Fear The Dragon beaten 3 3/4 lengths. “I dropped a horse in front of me and then he ended up pulling back out,” Sears said. “Going to the half a hundred, and he actually took me, which was not what I was expecting. They were :52.1 at the half and that just shows the kind of speed this horse has. He hung in there very gamely I’d have to say for those numbers.” Sears drove Downbytheseaside to a win in an elimination of the Max Hempt, a fifth in the final, a second in the Meadowlands Pace, and a third in the Cane Pace before the Brian Brown trainee made his way to Northfield Park for the Carl Milstein Memorial August 12. There, Downbytheseaside got back on a half-mile track, a trip he hasn’t lost on in five tries. “He’s just a really athletic horse with an efficient gait,” Sears said. “I don’t know what it is about him that makes him so comfortable over the half-mile track. It was an incredible mile he went a couple weeks ago at Northfield.” Downbytheseaside raced 3 lengths behind a :56.0 half set by Fear The Dragon in the Milstein. Sears pulled first-over with just over a lap to go and Downbytheseaside glided up alongside Fear The Dragon through a :26.3 third panel. “The horse, he came out of the hole pretty relaxed. He knew it was time to do some work, but he really didn’t try to overdo it,” Sears recalled. “Although we were pacing sub 27-second quarters, it was just amazing how easily they were doing it, both horses, getting over the ground. We were side by side and going into the last turn, I saw Dave call on his horse and I was thinking, ‘he might need a little more than that.’ I still felt really good.” David Miller popped the plugs on Fear The Dragon and reminded him with the whip on the final turn. With Sears motionless in the sulky and the whip dangling over his shoulder, Downbytheseaside put a nose in front of Fear The Dragon at the furlong pole. In the final strides, Downbytheseaside extended and paced away from Fear The Dragon on his own to win by a length in a track record 1:49.3. He paced a :26.4 final quarter. “That’s one thing, that’s the type of horse he is. He’s going to give it to you, what he’s got,” Sears said. “He’ll empty the tank for you. My job is just to try and keep him relaxed and confident and let him go about his thing.” Off his elimination win, Downbytheseaside drew post seven in the Messenger Stakes Final, a race Sears won by open lengths with 1-2 favorite Always A Virgin in 2007. Downtheseaside is a 9-5 morning line favorite, but could be closer to those odds come post time. Geers winner Mac’s Jackpot, Pennsylvania Sire Stakes winner Summer Side, Empire Breeders’ Classic runner up Miso Fast, Empire Breeders’ Classic Elimination winner and Messenger Elimination runner up Art Scene, New York Sire Stakes winner Funknwaffles, and Messenger Elimination third place finisher Blood Line will start inside Downbytheseaside. Henry The Dragon drew post eight. “I’m not thrilled with the seven hole. I’m not thrilled and there’s a little bit of speed in the race. He’s the class of the field and I think he’ll be able to overcome it,” Sears said.“How many horses are going to be using their early speed and the fact that I have to be going forward off the gate and try and not be too far back. I’m really not looking to have any road trouble.” The Messenger Stakes Final is one of four stakes on the card Saturday night at Yonkers Raceway. The card also features the $500,000 Yonkers Trot, $113,880 Lady Maud Pace, and the $119,010 Hudson Trot. First post time is 7:10 p.m. For entries for the card, click here. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Fear The Dragon entered Saturday's $300,000 Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park as harness racing's top-ranked horse. Everything looked to be going his way. He drew the rail, was the overwhelming favorite and posted soft fractions. However, Downbytheseaside paced home in :26.4 despite a tough first-over trip to best Fear The Dragon by a full length. Downbytheseaside started from post-7 and sat fifth through the opening :27.1 quarter. Driver Brian Sears pulled Downbytheseaside and grinded first-up through fractions of :56 and 1:22.4. The 1:49.3 final time was a new track record for sophomore colt pacers. "I knew he was going to have a lot left with those soft fractions," stated Sears. "I didn't want to have a speed duel." The duel came in the final quarter when Downbytheseaside drew alongside Fear The Dragon, eventually wearing him down in the stretch, returning $11.60 to win. "He put in a great effort and every time I called on him he gave more," said Sears. Brian Brown trains both colts at the historic Delaware County Fairgrounds. "I am thrilled this horse raced the way that he did and got there," said Brown. "It wasn't like Fear The Dragon raced bad." Downbytheseaside Finishing behind Downbytheseaside were Fear The Dragon, Classic Pro, Blood Line, Drunk On Your Love, Rock N Tony, R J P and Bags To Riches. Saturday's stablemate duel was intense and trainer Brian Brown indicated that the colts will meet again in September in the Little Brown Jug. Ayers Ratliff

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, July 30, 2017 -- He's obviously slowing down. Harness racing favored Homicide Hunter (Brian Sears, $5.50), after waltzing through last week's mile-and-a-quarter in 2:24.3, needed a full fifth of a second more this time around. Other than that alarming loss of alacrity, not much changed for the people's preference Sunday afternoon (July 30th) en route to winning Yonkers Raceway's $68,000 Open Handicap Trot. From an assigned eight-hole in the field of 11 (scheduled '12-holer' Springbank Sam N came up lame and was a pre-race day scratch), Homicide Hunter's job was a bit easier at the outset. Luminosity (George Brennan) and Centurion ATM (Dan Dube) both mamboed their way out of contention. Lone lass Celebrity Eventsy (Shristian Lind) made the first lead, yielding to Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno). The one gave up the baton to Homicide Hunter after a :28.4 opening quarter-mile. As was the case a week ago, no ensuing issues at all (:58, 1:27.4, mile in 1:56.1) for the eventual winner. Homicide Hunter owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane before whipping Rubber Duck by 2¾ lengths. Fashion Creditor (Eric Goodell), Taco Tuesday (Jordan Stratton) and Smalltownthrowdown (Jason Bartlett) settled for the minors. For Homicide Hunter, a 5-year-old Mr. Cantab gelding owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his fifth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $22, with the triple returning $175.50. Sunday's installment of the 'New York, New York Double' offered a winning combination of 4-Dunk a Din (Saratoga's 3rd race) and 2-Take My Picture (Yonkers' 10th race) paid $10.20 for every correct $1 wager. Total pool was $3,725. Note the Raceway's post time next Sunday (Aug. 6th) is 12:30 PM. Frank Drucker

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