Miller's 'dream' Breeders' Cup 2017 indicates bright future

Miller's 'dream' Breeders' Cup 2017 indicates bright future
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

DEL MAR, Calif— “Obviously," Peter Miller said over the weekend at Del Mar, "this is no easy thing to win on this day.”

And until this year's Breeders' Cup, a victory in the championships had eluded the trainer. But the wait is over.

Miller brushed aside an 0-for-9 record and entered the world of next level trainer in a matter of an afternoon, notching two wins in this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

Miller, whose first gained Grade 1 victory came in 2007, started a magical Saturday when 30-1 shot Stormy Liberal topped a field of 12 in the Turf Sprint. He conditioned the 1-2 finishers of the race with Richard's Boy, his other entrant for Rockingham Ranch, getting up for second place. 

Just three races later, Miller cashed again with the 5-1 Roy H in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Jockey Kent Desormeaux shocked a field of 10 headed by last year's winner, Bob Baffert-trained favorite Drefong. 

TV cameras captured an exuberant Miller willing his horses past the wire on both ocassions.

“I feel like Chad Brown," he said. "You know, I feel like Bob Baffert, one of those guys. It’s unbelievable. It’s just a dream come true.”

Miller -- whose two winners combined for $1,375,000 in earnings -- was the only trainer other than Brown to secure more than one win in this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

“Anytime you see this, you know, it’s something,” Miller explained of corralling two Breeders’ Cup wins. “(Richard) Mandella won four or five Breeders’ Cup races in one day. Anytime you can win one, let alone two, it is just an amazing experience and I feel blessed.”

Mandella won with Action This Day, Halfbridled, Johar and Pleasantly Perfect in the 2003 Breeders’ Cup. While nobody else has matched that round of winners, Miller joined some exclusive company as the 17th trainer in the championships' history to win multiple races in a year.

Consider Miller now thrust upon a higher nexus of training, a place where not too many bring a modest temperament like the Southern California product, who lays that self-effacement pretty thick.

“You never think you’re going to win a Breeders’ Cup race, let alone two, and when it happens, you know, it’s just…wow, an amazing feeling,” he said while celebrating Roy H's victory.

With humility in check, nobody ever said that the trainer wasn’t confident. 

“Anyone that asked me about my horses [Saturday], I said they’re all live,” claimed Miller. “Use them all. And I meant it.”

Miller, who is based at San Luis Rey Downs — and primarily trains and runs his horses on the Southern California circuit — lives just miles away from the track that gave him his two biggest career wins.

“The whole thing, it means that much more because I live 10 minutes from here,” he said. “I live in Encinitas, so it’s pretty close to Del Mar. To be able to do this here, to have my wife here and my friends, this was all just extra special. Perfect.”

With the foundation set, Miller will look to build his reputation into a sky-worthy structure of horse racing consistency. Both Roy H and Stormy Liberal are geldings who will race into 2018, with the latter already a candidate for a $2 million race in Hong Kong.

When asked if he’s ready to start building upon his success already, Miller simply said, “I’m going to enjoy this a little bit. This doesn’t happen every day. This moment has to be enjoyed, soaked in.”

Meet Anthony Jaskulski

Anthony fell in love with horse racing in a city where the race has gotten away from many.  Growing up in Pittsburgh, a young Anthony was taken to The Meadows to watch the local harness racing action.  Frequent trips to Mountaineer followed, turning a love affair for this great sport into a full obsession.  The atmosphere: a perfect elixir of excitement, pageantry and enthralling action.

A spoiled writer and editor in the Pittsburgh Sports market for over a decade now, Anthony has covered two Super Bowls, two Stanley Cups, three Big East championships, a Final Four and a bevy of exciting action that only the Steel City could provide.  His happiest moment, however, was covering his very first Kentucky Derby, getting the chance to watch Always Dreaming take the roses.

Proving you don't have to live next to Churchill or Belmont to love and soak in every minute of this sport, Anthony has just one goal on his agenda: making sure that the next race is one you don't want to miss!

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