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Sears says he\'s fortunate

October 25, 2006

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No one has driven more Breeders Crown winners over the past three years than Brian Sears. After walking away from last Saturday’s accident that left Hall of Fame driver John Campbell with a fractured leg and a horse euthanized, Sears feels lucky to have a chance to add to his total this weekend in the eight-race event at Woodbine Racetrack.

“I was extremely fortunate,” said Sears, whose horse in one of the Breeders Crown eliminations for 3-year-old male pacers, Shark Gesture, fell after being clipped by the Ron Pierce-driven Total Truth at the completion of the race. “The lucky thing was I was able to roll the right way and away from the pileup. It could have been much worse.”

Sears had some bumps, bruises and aches, but knows there are no guarantees that a driver will come out of track accidents unscathed. Campbell was injured when he was unable to avoid the fallen Shark Gesture. His horse, Scootin Direct, suffered catastrophic injuries.

“I had never been involved in one that was that scary,” Sears said. “No /one who does this wants to see drivers hurt and horses destroyed. I feel fortunate to even be able to talk about it today.”

Sears was listed to drive six horses in the eight races, but there was some shuffling of the deck because of Campbell’s injury. After the post draw on Tuesday, Sear will now drive in all eight Crown events, picking up the undefeated Pampered Princess in the 2-Year-Old Filly Trot and Quite Easy in the 2-Year-Old Colt Trot.

In July, Sears won Breeders Crown titles with older trotter Sand Vic and older pacer Lis Mara. The victories increased Sears’ total of Crown titles over the last three years to 10 – the same number as Pierce. Overall, Sears has won 11 of 31 Crown drives, a 35 percent winning clip. He won four titles in 2004 and 2005.

“I am down on some very nice horses who give me the opportunity to have a big night,” said Sears, who last year became the first driver to eclipse $15 million in earnings in a season. “But I wouldn’t say I have caliber of horses like Sand Vic and Lis Mara at the point of their Breeders Crown at The Meadowlands.”

He added, “I am very gratified in the success I have had in the Breeders Crown the past three years. It would be nice to expect to win four again, but that would probably be unrealistic this year.” (BC)

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