Brian Sears reflects on 10,000 victories
August 29, 2018
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It began innocently enough, back in 1984, with Alicia Blue Chip at Vernon Downs.
The lass, same as the driver, won just that lone race that season. But while "Alicia" would go on to win just 22 more races during her career, her driver would notch another 10,000—and counting—during his.
It was a bit more than 24 hours after Brian Sears reached that milestone when he sat back and mused about the milestone.
"It's meaningful for me," Sears said during a Yonkers Raceway work night. The irony that the 50-year-old Sears reached five figures while driving a trotter named Chasin' Dreams in Westchester Sunday afternoon, Aug. 26, was not lost on him.
"The relationships I've maintained," he said. "I appreciate all the owners, trainers and grooms that have supported me over the years."
Sears made sure to save the premier plaudits for his family.
"My dad (Jay) taught me how to be a horsemen and he took the brunt of it, because I had to learn with his horses. He and my sister, Jennifer, who's also an accomplished horseperson, have helped me more than anyone."
As good a big-money driver as harness racing has ever seen—career purses in excess of $186 million ranks him sixth all-time—there isn't a trophy out there without Sears' name etched somewhere.
So what stands out?
"I can't name them all, but my first Hambletonian (Muscle Hill-2009), first Meadowlands Pace (Rocknroll Hanover-2005), winning the (2017) Yonkers Trot (Top Flight Angel) and Messenger (Downbytheseaside) the same night. Those are races I definitely remember."
While the Harness Hall of Famer (Class of 2016) has been the leading driver at every venue he's hung his helmet full-time, he credits the Meadows—where he moved his base in 1994--for starting his career.
"I had opportunities there to learn and work on my craft," he said. "I would drive against Dave Palone and Dave Miller and learn from them."
Another irony not lost on Sears is the fact that the next generation is now learning from him.
"We're the old guys in the room now," he said while seated next to George Brennan (his words, George, not ours)."But it's still fun. I enjoy it out there."
"The game has changed. The biggest difference today is there are no breathers during the race. Horse carry their speed much farther than they used to, so we have to be more aggressive."
And with that, Sears left one seat for another.
Next up…11,000. (Frank Drucker/Yonkers)