Top Money Winner to Drive in Matinee Races
Rolland (Pollie) Mallar is taking no chances when it comes to who will drive the five horses he has running in next weekend's Matinee Races at the Pinehurst Harness Track.
Mallar has lined up the best of the best to take over the lines for two of his horses on Sunday, April 6.
Brian Sears, the standardbred driver first in earnings and fourth in wins for this year, will be driving Mallar's Kennans Ellery in the Pollie Mallar race for 2-year-old pacing fillies. Brian Sears has won $2,171,681 so far this year. In 2005, Sears became the first driver to top the $15 million mark in earnings, surpassing John Campbell's single season record of $14.1 million set in 2001. In 2006, Sears also broke a track record that had lasted for 20 years. From March 3 through May 18, 2006, he won at least one race for 48 consecutive programs, eclipsing the 47-program streak set by Campbell in 1986.
Sears is a third-generation horseman. He is the son of Jay Sears, a career winner of 1,500 races and the grandson of Gene Sears, who won over 1,000 races. Sears began his racing career at Vernon Downs in New York State in 1990 and moved to the Meadowlands in 1994. He has placed among the top 20 dash winning drivers in North America since 1994. His mother, Sharon Sears, lives in Pinehurst.
But before you put your money down on Kennans Ellery, take into consideration that George Brennan will be driving another one of Mallar's fillies. Brennan stands fourth in earnings so far this year. Brennan, who drives the New Jersey circuit, is one of a select group of Meadowlands drivers to win $2 million before his 30th birthday. Brennan will take over the lines on Open Forum in the Mallar Stable Race for pacing fillies.
"I have high hopes for all five of them," said Mallar, who has a total of 16 horses in his barn for training. "Open Forum acts nice right now."
Open Forum is owned by Lin Higgins (formerly of Pinehurst), Tom Perkins and David Fraser.
Mallar has been training standardbred race horses since high school, and he has been wintering in Pinehurst for 16 years.
On a recent warm sunny March morning Mallar had his horses out on the track preparing for the Matinee Races.
"We're preparing them for a new experience," said Mallar. "We just want to be careful and keep everyone safe, and hopefully have the public enjoy the race."
Medors Stable Set to Run
Mike Medors, who has a total of 41 horses in training at Pinehurst this season, will also be running five horses in the Matinee Races. One of the horses, Medoland Mac, is owned by Pinehurst resident Carl Anders. Medors has been coming to Pinehurst for 13 years to escape the Ohio winters.
Medors, who trains at Scioto Downs in Ohio for part of the year, recently received the 2007 Ohio Horse of the Year Award with 3-year-old pacing colt KF St. Patrick. The 3-year-old Nobleland Sam colt had an outstanding 2007 season, posting 12 victories in 20 starts and earning $174,835. He set his lifetime mark of 1:51f in capturing his Ohio State Fair Stakes division on Aug. 4 at Scioto Downs. KF St. Patrick also won the Ohio Sires Stakes Final and a division of the Ohio Breeders Championship, making him one of three standardreds to capture the Buckeye State Triple Crown in 2007.
Medors has high hopes for all five of his 2-year-old horses racing in the Matinee Races.
"It's hard to say who has the best chance of winning," said Medors. "They are all training well."
Any one of Medors' horses could go on to become big money winners like KF St. Patrick, or like the horse Medors drove seven years ago in the Matinee Races for trainer Chris Oaks.
"I drove a horse called Gallo Blue Chip in the 2001 Matinee Races. We finished second," said Medors. "The horse then went on to win every race until he was 3 years old. He was the National Horse of the Year and the richest pacer of all time. And I drove him in his first career start in the only race he didn't win. That is my claim to fame."
Even though the trainers won't commit to which of their horses will win a race, you can be sure that there will be a star born out of the entries this year. Be on hand so you can say that you were there when the filly or colt made her or his debut.
Gates open at 11 a.m. Sunday for parking. Admission is $5 per person. The opening ceremonies are scheduled for 1 p.m., and the first race will go off at 1:30 p.m.
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