BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Thursday, December 26, 2013--To the surprise of no one in particular, Brian Sears and Ron Burke left town with Yonkers Raceway's 2013 titles as leading driver and trainer, respectively.
The 231-program meet (pared down by seven weather cancellations), which ran from Jan .11-Dec. 21, saw Sears--who turns 45 next month--claim his first Westchester title in his first full-fledged Yonkers season. He won 471 races from 2,034 starts (23.2 percent), 44 more victories than two-time defending champ George Brennan (427 wins), Jason Bartlett (337), Dan Dube (226) and Jordan Stratton (217) rounded out the leading quintet.
Sears' $8,736,133 in purses also led the legion.
The 44-year-old Burke, as part of a record-setting, $22-milllion purse season, earned his first-ever local training title. He won 176 races from his local-high 723 starters (24.3 percent), taking a season-long scrum with Rene Allard (140 winners, 24.5 percent). Gilberto Garcia-Herrera (114), PJ Fraley (108) and Scott DiDomenico (90) completed the first five.
The Raceway's 2014 live schedule begins Monday, Jan 6, pending NYS Gaming Commission approval.