50 YEARS AFTER LATER JAY SEARS WINS AGAIN AT THE MIGHTY M
There is little doubt that the Sears Family is proud of their accomplishments. No, not the catalogue people…. the harness racing Sears. And they should be, from Grandpa Gene, to father Jay to son Brian, all exceptional horsemen and talented drivers.
At Monticello Raceway on the rainy afternoon of August 28 local railbirds found that the name Jay Sears was listed to drive in the eighth race.
“I’m not sure who he is but maybe he’s related to Brian Sears,” one fan answered where queried about Jay Sears.
Jay Sears, Brian’s dad, has recorded over 1500 career winners and has been driving sparingly over the past few decades while being involved in the horseman’s organization at Pompano Park in Florida.
On Thursday Sears shipped his winless Allamerican Native sophomore pacing gelding, Gallagher, some 90 miles from Pocono Downs to Monticello Raceway looking to give his youngster a shot at an easier field of horses.
And it worked out just as Sears hoped it would.
Rated 4-1 from the eight hole and sporting fast times while chasing winners at the Plains, Pa. five-eighth mile oval, finally after 15 previous starts Gallagher now sports a race record of 2:02, albeit hampered by being earned over the muddy racecourse.
Still that didn’t seem to bother Jay. He sounded happy when contacted by phone in the race paddock after his triumph.
Pleasantries were exchanged and Jay was welcomed back to the Mighty M and asked “what the heck are you doing here?”
Sears hasn’t driven a horse at Monticello Raceway in decades, maybe longer.
“I won my first race here some 50 years ago and I’m not sure if this will be my last winner but if it is it’ll also be at Monticello,” Sears said.
Asked why he shipped his colt here to the Mighty M he added: “Oh, I wanted to give my guy (Gallagher) a little easier competition. I haven’t driven him much at all since he first started racing this year but I figured if the top guys could lose with him, then so could I.”
But losing wasn’t in the cards for Gallagher or Sears on Wednesday afternoon
Despite starting on the far outside Sears got his pacer away extremely slow and was in seventh place some 18 lengths off the lead at the quarter.
At the three- eighths pole Sears moved his pacer to the outside and began grinding forward and at the head of the lane Gallagher was in fourth place still some two lengths off the leader. But with modest urging from Sears Gallagher got up in the final strides to collar Zeke Parker and Forty Thieves and finally break his maiden.
Sent off at odds of 7-2 Gallagher paid $9.60 for win. The pacer is also owned by Sears.
Longtime horsemen and maybe even some eternal fans may remember Sears’ dad Gene, who was reputed to be the only one to get along with the onerous but extremely fast pacer Red Sails, back in the early 1950’s. Gene Sears was a consummate horsemen and outstanding Grand Circuit race driver skills he no doubt passed on to his progeny.