01/05/2017 11:42PM

Harness: Brian Sears on the sidelines to start 2017

Email
Derick Giwner
Brian Sears is just 286 wins from 10,000 for his career.

Yonkers Raceway kicks off its 2017 live racing season with $380,000 in purses up for grabs on Sunday and one notable driver is nowhere to be found. Hall of Famer Brian Sears, who hasn’t driven since November 29, remains out of action following PRK laser eye surgery.

“I had it done December 1 and when I went back for my one month check-up the doctor advised me to wait at least another month before driving again,” said Sears, who is hoping to be back in the bike sometime in February.

[DRF HARNESS EYE: The digital edition of Harness Eye is now available for just $6! Monthly rates are as low as $2.67 per issue.]

After spending some time with his dad in Florida and taking a couple of mini-vacations, Sears admitted that he is starting to chomp at the bit and ready to return.

“I hadn’t planned for this much time off and I had nothing set up to kill my time. If I would’ve known it was going to take this long to get back, I would have taken a place down south or something,” said Sears.

While finishing ninth in North American earnings this year, Sears’ final tally of $7,486,183 was the lowest single-season number he has posted since 2003. In 2014 and 2015 he averaged just over $9.5 million and between 2004 and 2013 he eclipsed $10 million nine times.

Despite the lower than usual numbers, Sears wasn’t upset by his earnings, but he did hint at possible changes on the horizon for 2017.

“I’m pretty happy with every year. I got into this business just hoping to make a living,” said Sears of his modest goals to start his career.

“The overnight races have been so good that I was questioning whether it made sense to travel for one or two young horses,” said Sears. “I’ve been kind of removed from the Grand Circuit, but I’m going to try to be more focused on that this year.”

Sears sits just 286 wins from reaching 10,000 for his career, a number that seems very much in reach in 2017 considering he hasn’t driven fewer than 300 winners since 1993. 

For now, Sears is keeping in shape and waiting as usual for the word “go,” this time from his doctor rather than the starter.