07/16/2016 11:10PM

Meadowlands: Control The Moment holds off Racing Hill in Meadowlands Pace

Nikki Sherman
Control The Moment kept Racing Hill at bay to win the Meadowlands Pace in 1:48 2/5

Driver Brian Sears learned something in his first spin with Control The Moment in the Meadowlands Pace elimination, and he utilized that knowledge to perfection, capturing the $732,050 Meadowlands Pace final on Saturday night. Sears had been absent from the Meadowlands Pace winner's circle since 2005 when he won with Rocknroll Hanover, but he put in a textbook drive, and then Control The Moment managed to hold sway in a 1:48 2/5 career-best clocking.

"I heard Brett's horse (Racing Hill) get rough, and I tried to get some separation," said Sears, who confessed the "nose" victory made it "interesting for the fans."

Sears had full control of his horse as Lyons Snyder and Racing Hill, along with Good Living, outleft him in the early stages. First, Lyons Snyder crossed over in 26 3/5, and then Racing Hill cleared the top past the quarter. But Sears as he so often does in big races had complete control of the moment, vacating the pylons past the quarter and making a bee-line to the front. The half was 53 2/5, but the driver was not concerned.

"That's comfortable for these horses," said Sears after the race.

Indeed it was as Racing Hill followed him in the pocket and Lyons Snyder appeared most uncomfortable through the 28 flat third quarter, with the 1:21 2/5 clocking setting up a rather interesting stretch contest.

Control The Moment drew off by a few lengths with Sears constantly looking behind, not wishing to be caught by surprise. In midstretch there was no surprise as Racing Hill started wearing into the lead, and Sears started demanding more from the son of Well Said he was driving.  The official margin showed a "nose," but the winner knew where the wire was and crossed it with a 27 flat final panel.

Racing Hill may have lost the race with his loss of action on the final turn and once again was runner-up in one of the sport's biggest prizes. He previously was runner-up to Betting Line in the North America Cup.  Check Six followed a weak cover flow third-over but finished with solid pace for third, with Manhattan Beach covering a lot of ground late for fourth. Lyons Snyder, despite his mid-race woes, straightened out in the stretch to earn the final check.

Owned by Control The Moment Stables and trained by Brad Maxwell, Control The Moment now has 11 wins in 16 career starts and solidified his claim among the elite in this division. Driver Sears suggested he would be following the horse on the Grand Circuit and owner Howard Taylor pointed to what's likely next.

"He'll go in the Adios," said Taylor, who was reminded that his late father Jerry Taylor got a check in the $2 million Wilson, the richest race in harness history.

"But we won this one," proclaimed Taylor, calling the race the biggest of his long ownership career.