YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, September 11, 2012--In a resume chock full of major wins and never-ending milestones, Brian Sears crossed another item off his "to-do" list Tuesday night. Sears drove his 8,000th career winner, the round number coming with Get Packin' ($3.40) in Yonkers Raceway's $14,500, 11th-race trot (1:57.2).
Sears began his work night three wins shy of the latest round number. He won the $11,500 pacing opener with Sgt Grit ($7.20), making his local debut and prevailing in 1:55.4, matching his life-best.
The 44-year-old Sears, a native of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, ranks 22nd all-time in North American dash wins, while his purse earnings of nearly $134 million place him sixth on the continent. He has earned at least $10 million in purses each of the last right full seasons, and is a lock to keep that run going in 2012.
Not bad for someone who won his first race (for his father, Jay) as a 16-year-old high school student at Vernon Downs back in 1984. He has gone on to be at or near the head of the class at every stop (Vernon, the Meadows, Pompano, Meadowlands) along the way, and currently sits in third place here despite not being a regular presence in Westchester.
"I've never been a 'milestone' person, I just appreciate all the success I've had," Sears said after being presented with the requisite congratulatory signage.
"I also appreciate everyone who has helped me out and gave me chances along the way, especially my father, who was putting me down on horses at the very beginning when I had no idea what I was doing."
Sears reached the plateau-in-waiting, getting No. 7,999 with the millionairess Win Missy B ($2.80) in the second division of the $340,268 New York Sire Stakes Joe Goldstein Trot (four divisions at $85,067 each) for 3-year-old fillies.
"Missy," making her first career small-track start, blasted from post position No. 5 in the second event. She was all be her lonesome through pacer-like fractions of :27.2; 56 and 1:24.4. However, fractions began to take their toll as Cowgirl Hall (Jim Morrill Jr.) made up serious ground between the three-quarters and the final turn.
Undaunted, Win Missy B summoned some of those seven-figure resources, holding off Cowgirl Hall by a not-to-be-denied nose in 1:54.4. It was another seven-and-and-change lengths back to For a Dancer (Jeff Gregory). The mile was a new track record for soph trotting fillies, easily eclipsing the 1:56 effort CR Kay Suzie (Rod Allen) when she beat up on the boys in the 1995 Yonkers Trot.
"They've kept her off the half-miles because she tends to get too aggressive," Sears said. "She was tonight, so I just let her go. She had every right to get beat off those fractions, but when the other filly came at her, she dug in."
For Win Missy B, a homebred daughter of Conway Hall owned by Bob Key and trained by Charlie Norris, it was her fifth win in 13 seasonal starts (earnings in excess of $492,000) and 13th victory in 26 lifetime efforts (career cash exceeding $1.2 million). The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $5.80, with the triple returning $14.20.
As a sidebar to her rivals, the victory more than likely propelled her into a berth on the gate for the $1.8 million New York Night of Champions here a week from Saturday night.
The evening's first sire stakes division saw talented lass Fortunista (George Brennan, $2.30) go up and over her rivals, not to mention the $200,000 seasonal earnings marker. Leaving from post No. 3, she moved from fourth by the half, engaging--then overtaking--Whimzical Britt (Stephane Bouchard) down the backside.
Fortunista eventually widened to defeat Pittstop Ruthie (Yannick Gingras) by 2¼ lengths in 1:58.2, with Whimzical Britt third and Adriana Hanover (Steve Smith) fourth.
For Fortunista, a Credit Winner miss co-owned by (trainer) Gilberto Garcia-Herrera and Barbara & Donald Arnstine, it was her sixth win in 15 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $6.10, the triple returned $14.60 and the superfecta paid $57.50.
Tuesday's other NYSS events were won by...
--Kristin's Victory (by Cash Hall); owner/driver Smith/trainer Karen Garland; 1:57.4/$3.30;
--Barbara Goldsein (by Conway Hall); owner Steven Goldstein/trainer-driver Kim Crawford; 2:00.3/$18.80.
New York Sire Stakes preliminary leg competition concludes Thursday night, with $286,600 Lew Barasch Trot (2-year-old colts/geldings).
The Raceway continues its normal five-night-per-week live schedule, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.