GEORGE BRENNAN DOESN'T LOOK A DAY OVER 10,000
"We're the old guys in the room," Sears said.
Well, "Old Guy" Brennan joined Sears in the five-figure club, mimicking Sears and winning his 10,000th career race this past Friday night (Oct. 19th) at the pair's home away from home, Yonkers Raceway.
When diminutive Down Under Our Zak Whitby A went the distance in that evening's second race, chauffeur Brennan became the 16th North American driver to reach that number.
A rare race off the night before allowed the 51-year-old Brennan a chance to reflect on what was then a milestone-in-waiting.
"It's a good number, nothing I was aiming for," Brennan said, "but I understand it's significant.
"I don't know if my approach is any different than when I was 30 or 40. I still love what I do, show up every night, keep myself in good shape and know the horses."
Of course, getting dibs for Ron Burke and Scott DiDomenico, among other leading trainers, doesn't hurt.
"The horsepower is the key," Brennan said, adding "The game has changed. Speed stays longer, the horses-pacers and trotters-have a lot more go-go. You don't always have to be forwardly-placed, but it usually doesn't hurt."
If there has been one concession Brennan had made, it's to his schedule.
"Iím here about 98 percent of the time," he said. "There's no more traveling and getting home at three in the morning. Sometimes, I go to Freehold, the Meadowlands or Philly, but always local. "It keeps me fresh."
The Brennan resume recital is too meandering for this missive-the man's no one-hit wonder---so he was asked to choose a few that stood out.
In no particular order...
Glidemaster (2006 Yonkers Trot)- It was unfortunate for John Campbell. The colt won the Hambletonian and Kentucky Futurity, then John was injured and (trainer) Blair Burgess asked me to drive. The race was late that season Nov. 25th and it was a very cold night here. He won first-up in 1:55 (actually 1:55.4) to win the Triple Crown, so to be a part of that was pretty special.
Artist's View 2007 Breeders Crown 3-Year-Colt/Gelding Pace, Meadowlands - Without a doubt, one of my favorite races. He was out every step from the 10-hole and won at 42-1. His trainer, Buzzy Sholty, is one of my best friends, so that was great.
Holborn Hanover 2006 US Pacing Championship, Meadowlands- I put a world record 1:46.4 on him that day. Old bike, record lasted for years. Loved him.
...and then there was THAT day, Aug. 6, 2011, at the Meadowlands. In a span of 35 minutes, Brennan polished off the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks (Bold and Fresh, 1:53.1) and $1.5 million Hambletonian (Broad Bahn, 1:53) at odds of 24-1 and 6-1, respectively.
"Who thinks that's going to happen?" he said. "It was a hell of a day."
During the conversation, around a mundane 10-race overnight card, Brennan bemoaned one aspect of the game that he says has changed.
I miss not having the classy 10 and 11 year olds out there competing they way they used to, he said. This night featured 'just' three 10 year olds, although several of the races were age restricted.
It didnít take very long to connect the dots between that musing and one Foiled Again
"What he's done has been incredible," Brennan who won thrice with him- said of the sport's richest-ever equine. "It was a honor to get to drive him."
Alright, George Brennan, let's put the finishing touches on 'What 10,000 Wins Mean to Me'.
"I think what I'm really proud of is that when I came down here (New York metropolitan area) for good in 1994, I didn't have 1,000 wins," Brennan said. So, to win 9,000 or so races driving against top-notch competition, that's something to me."
Brennan, a native of Monticello, NY, won his first race behind Rob Ron Romper at his hometown track as a high school junior back in 1982. His career purse earnings exceed $171 million, ranking seventh all time, according to the US Trotting Association.
Asked when he thought he became good, Brennan offered that "I was going to drive horses for a living regardless, but when I had early success at Monticello inserting credit to stepfather Joe Ricco Jr., it helped.
I'm 51, but I'm still learning, so if younger drivers are picking things up from me, I'm picking things up from them, too.
733 Yonkers Ave., Suite 102, Yonkers NY, 10704 Phone: 914-968-3599 Fax: 914-968-3943
| Designed by Lambeth Desktop