Off winning Breeders' Cup, Miller vies for title at his 'happy place'

Del Mar Stable Notes
November 09, 2019 09:45am

With another successful Breeders’ Cup in the rearview mirror, trainer Peter Miller understandably had a smile on his face and a pep in his step this week while preparing for the sixth Bing Crosby Fall meeting.

“Always happy to be at
 Del Mar. My happy place. My Disneyland,” Miller said.

Last Saturday, Miller won the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint for the third year in a row as Belvoir Bay got home 1 ¼ lengths in front of Miller-trained Om. Stormy Liberal, winner of the 2017 and 2018 editions of the race, was eighth.

The victory was an emotional one for Miller. Belvoir Bay had survived severe burns in the 2017 fire that ravaged San Luis Rey Downs.

“With all she went through in the fire, being lost for three days, having to be sent to the clinic (for hyperbaric treatments) for three weeks … she’s just a special horse,” Miller said.

Belvoir Bay, owned by Gary Barber, sold at auction for $1.5 million earlier this week. Om is a candidate to be retired to stud but also a candidate for the Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) here on November 30. A decision is still pending with the 7-year-old gelding Stormy Liberal, and it won’t be an easy one.

“He’s still sound, loves to train and run, but he’s lost a step,” Miller said. “Happens to the best of us. I’m not as fast as I was as a 20-year-old.”

Miller’s rundown on the rest of his Breeders’ Cup bunch:

 Billy Batts (second, Juvenile Turf) and Wrecking Crew (third, Juvenile) came out of the race in good shape. Both might be seen again this year in stakes fitting their age group and surface preference.

 Spiced Perfection (fourth, Filly & Mare Sprint) will stay in training with the goal of next year’s Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland. “She’s 2-for-2 there, so we know she likes the track,” Miller said.

 Mo See Cal (sixth, Distaff), being a California bred, has options for both state-restricted and open races.

Miller is 4-for-5 in Bing Crosby meet training titles with one runner-up finish (2015) to Doug O’Neill. He’s got the equine numbers, 30 at Del Mar and an equal number at San Luis Rey Downs, to be competitive again. But Miller said he’s not going in with great expectations of another title.

“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” Miller said.

For now, he’s just enjoying his time at "Disneyland."

 

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