06/19/2014 5:02PM

Harness: Brian Sears banned from Meadowlands

Lisa Photo
Brian Sears won the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands in 2013.

Harness driver Brian Sears has officially been banned from driving in overnight and qualifying races at the Meadowlands according to a statement by track operator Jeff Gural on Harnesslink.com.

When contacted by DRF, Gural would only say, “I assure you I have a very good reason,” in response to why Sears has been excluded from participating.

Sears issued a formal statement as follows:

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I am deeply disappointed in Jeff Gural’s recent decision to exclude me from The Meadowlands, Tioga and Vernon.

I am a licensed driver in good standing with the New Jersey Racing Commission, the New York Gaming Commission and all other governing bodies throughout North America. I have done nothing wrong and have broken no rules. The only thing I did was say no to Jeff when he asked me to leave Yonkers and return to the Meadowlands earlier this year.

Owners in this game pay a lot of money to buy good horses and pay a lot of money to stake those good horses everywhere including the Meadowlands. Some of those owners want me to drive their horses in baby races, qualifiers, overnights and stakes.

I’ve spent my whole career working hard to get to a point where owners want to have me drive their top horses. It’s disheartening that this is an issue.

Sears, one of the leading drivers in the country over the previous decade, won the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands last year with Royalty For Life and was listed to drive that horse on Friday morning. Trainer George Ducharme confirmed that the now 4-year-old would indeed qualify but he was still looking for a driver.

"We just found out about it at noon and the owners are discussing it," said Ducharme on who would drive. The trainer added that Royalty For Life would either qualify one more time after Friday or just come back on July 5 for the $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity at the Meadowlands. 

Sears may or may not be permitted to drive in stakes races.



Jim Shasteen More than 1 year ago
If I were Brian...I would take Gural to task in court...win the case...then tell Gural where he could stick his tracks...Contrary to the opinion of Gural...the drivers work for the owners and trainers of the horses...not Gural! I was brought up around harness racing since 1962 and have seen attempts by track owners to control the drivers...it just doesn't work!! Gural should NOT be involved in the decisions of the racetrack stewards...that is the USTA and the State Racing commissions' concern. I watched the race in question...nothing wrong with the drive...and the betting public needs to know that the HORSES are a concern as well. This decision by Gural is wrong, discriminatory , and the USTA and the Racing commission needs to look at this!
Paul More than 1 year ago
Basically baloney.  Read the stall agreement signed every year by Sears.  Track owners can kick you out any time they want.  Most don't have the guts.  Gural does!
Becky Storniolo More than 1 year ago
brian ! wanting to ship your horses pleas e call becky storniolo 908.210.5114..!!
Charles Sparks More than 1 year ago
Harness racing has become very crooked these last few years at all harness race tracks, I use to win back in the 1970s & 80s but no more , too many fixed races at all harness tracks in USA . Crooked trainers and crooked drivers just to many of them , drivers making a favorite go off stride or getting the horse locked in behind other horses then when these drivers know they can't win the race they give a very good show coming out from behind other horses fully knowing they have no chance of winning the race so the longer odds horse wins . these drivers are having other people place bets on these long shot horses . I woke up awhile back to these fixed races by trainers & drivers I don't play harness races any longer now in 2014. I really hope more horse betters would wake up & stop giving up their hard earned money on these fixed races be honest to your self in the long run you lose & you betters know I am telling the truth. Its not you it is called fixed races by crooked trainers & crooked drivers that are already rich from your losses. The answer is easy just STOP playing these fixed races as I did, now I have more of my own money to spend the way I want too ! You need to stop now or these crooked drivers / trainers will keep right on stealing your hard earned money that you work hard to get & make it so easy for these crooked men and women trainers and drivers to get more rich then these crooks are already . Stop Playing the harness races.
Charles Sparks More than 1 year ago
From what I have seen over the years going back to harness racing at Hollywood park when the real and only true honest driver I have ever seen drive to form was the great Shelley Gadreu misspelled last name of this great driver who was killed in a race back in the 1970. this man was so honest when he took the reins at post time if you bet on him & the horse he was driving , you already knew you would get a good drive from this Great Driver, He is missed in harness racing by many today. The man was so honest in his drives each night trying his best to win the race. NOT LIKE THESE DRIVERS OF TODAYS HARNESS RACING. These so called drivers get away with so much stuff like cheating in many races each night that I have mostly forgot all about the harness races all because of these crooks called drivers what a laugh !!!!! The meadowlands is very bad for letting theses king of drivers get away with on purpose breaking the stride of a favorite in the race on getting the horse in tight quarters on purpose these drives do this and nothing gets done about it , so as in the 1970s when you could get a good drive from a harness driver it just does not happen that way anymore so I gave up the harness races to much money hungry trainers & drivers in 2014 !!! If you are smart you would stop playing the fixed harness racing game where only the trainers & driver make all the money these people are so crooked . Fixing races all over the USA each fixed races are going on taking your hard earned money , I got smart and stop playing these fixed races . Sparky.
Mike Brewer 8 months ago
killed August 1982..I was  there
Paula Oneil More than 1 year ago
For what should it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his own soul .this makes me sad Brian never had to cheat to be good he is a natural and very blessed what has things come to .
Reggie Blanco More than 1 year ago
Has anyone been to the Meadowlands lately? well it's like waiting for your bus or train at the NY Port Authority.BUMS all over the place, and sleeping on the seating area.Cursing all over the place, and the dirtiest bathrooms ever.ONE BIG SARDINE room open for betting during the week.THIS IS THE NEW IMPROVED MEADOWLANDS! Yet all the decent drivers such as BrianSears leave due to the lack of racing days, and poor purse money,and you ban him because it's your way or the highway?.The kid Robert Bongiorno is driving at the Meadowlands and his father one of the biggest crooks ever is always in the winning circle taking his picture.Thats o.k. I GUESS because he is a friend .Doesn't his daughter also work for you?. Forgive and forget right.WHAT CRIME HAS BRIAN SEARS COMMITED BESIDES TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING Mr Gural.Change the image, and the atmosphere of your NEW MEADOWLANDS and maybe more families and betters will return.
David V. Cannon More than 1 year ago
Jay More than 1 year ago
Meadowlands has never been the same since Sears and the other name drivers moved on. The new building is a disaster. Gural is circling the drain. This type of action shows you why. Stupid is as stupid does.
Naomi Johnson More than 1 year ago
Jeff Gural has good reason for banning Brian Sears. Brian would not bow down to him!!!! As a driver, it is Brian's and his horse' owners' prerogative where they wish to race, not the racetrack owner's. A racetrack, like a Woolworth's 5 and dime in the sixties, is a public place even though it is "privately" owned. When a group of students went into Woolworth's in Greensboro, NC and asked to be served at a lunch counter, they were refused at first. The federal government overruled the state on the grounds that anyone is allowed access to public facilities. "beginning with lunch counters and spreading to other forms of public accommodation, including transport facilities, art galleries, beaches, parks, swimming pools, libraries, and even museums around the South.[14] The Civil Rights Act of 1964[15] mandated desegregation in public accommodations." This is a form of personal discrimination!!!! I hope the media takes this incident and runs with it. Who will be next on Gural's list?
gus stewart More than 1 year ago
What a time and a country we live in. Lived a high roller partying pro sports,actors musicians all of it in my time, So of course this happens everyday, with not telling the truth, or being afraid to express your thoughts or opinions. When do we start calling out all that may be involved in what Mr Gural may have on Sears. Trainers, owners so lets start picking and choosing who has enough power and money to be, should we say, exempt from questioning!!!!! Now I have no dog in this fight, but making an example of one and not the whole problem... and lets say not going after wall street in the mortgage fraud many years ago,,,,,, sounds like the new unwritten law of the land to me!!!! Again what a country we are becoming!!!!!