MILLER HOPES FOR HIS TIME AT BREEDERS’ CUP AGAIN
Hit the rewind button and last year’s Breeders’ Cup was ultra exciting for one of the training staples in the Golden State. Peter Miller gained his first two wins in the World Thoroughbred Championships run in his own backyard at Del Mar. Taking the Turf Sprint and Sprint ended a fabulous year for a guy that earned his first win as a trainer in 1988. With the 2018 Cup now upon us, the hard-working California-based conditioner looks for a little Miller time once again.
Stormy Liberal popped the top for Miller in the Turf Sprint at the bubbling odds of 30 to 1. One thing that made that race as satisfying as an ice cold one on a hot day was the fact the Miller trained Richard’s Boy finished a very close second. The Miller time exacta got the keg rolling down hill for the spirited California native. In the Sprint , Roy H came home with a strong finishing kick as he cleared a very talented field in giving Miller his training double on the day.
“Defending champion trainer in two races, I like the sound of that,” says a cheerful Miller as he prepares to bring horses to this year’s Breeders’ Cup. “That was such a great day and our goal has been to get back to the Cup with a chance to win again.”
Miller will be back with a real chance at some suds. Both Stormy Liberal and Richard’s Boy are planned entrants in the Turf Sprint along with Conquest Tsunami. The defending champ is coming in off three consecutive wins and is perhaps the hottest horse in that division. Both the Boy and Tsunami have proven dangerous in these five furlong flights on the grass, which makes a Miller time exoctic a real possibility. Roy H is back for the six furlong dash on the dirt as he will attempt to become just the second two-time winner (Midnight Lute 2007, 2008) in this race. Using a similar path as last year, Roy H is coming off a powerful score in the Santa Anita Sprint Championships. Distinctive B is another Miller trainee that will enter the starting gates in the Sprint along with Roy H.
Some of the faces in the starting gates will be the same for Miller, but the venue will not. This year’s Cup will be run at Churchill Downs and that makes for an even bigger challenge as he looks to repeat. Shipping and winning is always a challenge as tracks and conditions play differently. Home field advantage was good for Miller last year, but he readily welcomes the challenges of traveling this year.
“It’s always tougher to play on the road,” says Miller. “Traveling can present so many different challenges that’s why winning on the road is so tough. You have to have the right kind of horse to ship and win and we think our group fits the bill.”
Having now tasted the success of the Cup, the former assistant to Charlie Whittingham has been pointing to this trip to Churchill all year. Winning a race at the Breeders’ Cup is always tough as the best of the best from every division is here. With some runners that look to be coming in right, Miller has a chance to have his time come November 3.
“We like where we are at right now with these runners,” says Miller. “Roy H came out of his last race in great shape. It’s a real exciting time for us. We wish the races were tomorrow.”