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In Harness: Millers Connected By 10,000-Win Milestone


Andy & Brett Miller receive accolades for their rare lifetime achievement.

(Courtesy of USTA Media Relations)

Hightstown, NJ — Andy Miller and Brett Miller are not related, but they were in a way connected last week when each driver got the 10,000th win of his career.

First was Andy, who notched his milestone triumph with Samwise The Brave on Aug. 20 at Lexington’s Red Mile. Five days later, Brett joined him in the 10,000-win club when he guided Flyin Bullets to victory at Eldorado Scioto Downs.

Andy ranks 21st among all drivers in North American history. Brett is No. 22.

“That’s pretty neat,” Andy said about the two Millers reaching 10,000 within days of each other. “It’s quite an accomplishment for anybody to get there. It’s kind of an elite group.

“Starting out, it’s not even a number you would think about. You’re looking to get a hundred wins. Then a thousand. To think you can get to 10,000 is amazing.”

Brett agreed.

“A lot of times you take things for granted,” Brett said. “But when I saw I was getting close to it, it meant a lot. When I first started driving horses, I remember living in a tack room above the barn at Raceway Park, at 21 years old, saying to myself that if I could win 2,000 races in my career it would be so awesome. That’s what I would think about. So, (10,000) definitely means a lot.”

Andy, who will turn 55 next month, got his first win in 1986. He was one of the top drivers in Illinois, winning titles at Balmoral and Maywood, before moving with his wife, trainer Julie Miller, to New Jersey in 2006. That same year, Andy got his 5,000th win.

“It all started at the Illinois fairs and just kept going,” Andy said. “When you have a passion for the business and you work hard, good things happen.”

Andy got his most lucrative win two years after moving to the East Coast, guiding Creamy Mimi to victory for trainer Trond Smedshammer in the $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks.

He has captured five Breeders Crown trophies in his career, getting his first in 2004 with his brother, trainer Erv Miller, and filly pacer Restive Hanover. His other Crowns include one with Julie, in 2009 with trotter Lucky Jim. The gelding won 17 of 18 races that season and banked $1 million on his way to the Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter.

According to the U.S. Trotting Association’s Research Department, Andy and Julie have teamed up for 1,634 victories in their careers. In addition to Lucky Jim, some of the stable’s notable horses have included Dan Patch Award and Mohawk Million winner Venerate, millionaires Devious Man and Met’s Hall, Kentucky Filly Futurity champ Love A Good Story, and John Cashman Memorial winner Sevruga.

Victory No. 10,000 for Andy also came with a horse trained by Julie.

“That made it even more special,” Andy said. “We’ve had a lot of wins together with horses we’ve owned and trained, so it was pretty neat that it happened with a horse we train.”

As for his career to date, Andy added, “When you look back over the years and you think of all the horses and all the trainers and owners and drivers you’ve raced with, it’s a lot of good memories. It’s been a great ride and I hope it continues. I’m still passionate about it.”

Brett Miller, who turned 50 earlier this month, got his first win in 1992. He averaged 520 victories a year from 2000 through 2006 while capturing titles at Scioto Downs and Northfield Park. In 2007, he equaled the record for most wins on a single pari-mutuel track card, collecting 10 at Northfield.

After moving to the East Coast, Brett enjoyed success at The Meadowlands, where he equaled the track record with eight wins on a single card in 2016 and was the leading driver in 2017. At the end of 2018, he returned to Ohio and continued his winning ways. Since the start of 2019, only Aaron Merriman has more victories in the Buckeye State than Brett, who has totaled more than 2,000 during that time.

“I think one of the things I’m proud of is being able to go pretty much anywhere and compete and do well,” Brett said. “When I went out East, I didn’t know if I could make it out there, and things went pretty good. Things went really good, actually. But the lifestyle wasn’t for me, living out there, the hustle and bustle and running around everywhere. I never really got to enjoy life. Being back here in Ohio, I can do that more.”

Brett has won three Breeders Crown trophies, including one with multiple Dan Patch Award-winner Pure Country. In 2016, he won the Ewart Memorial with Always B Miki (subbing in the sulky for cousin David Miller) in a world-record-equaling 1:47 mile at Scioto Downs. Always B Miki outdueled defending Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit on his way to his own Horse of the Year honor at season’s end.

“One of my favorite drives ever was getting to drive Always B Miki at Scioto Downs, the night he and Wiggle It Jiggleit went toe-to-toe,” Brett said. “That stands out. But I’ve had the chance to drive a lot of great horses. I’ve been lucky; very, very lucky.”

Some other top horses for Brett have included millionaires Racing Hill and Charlie May, who happened to give Brett victory 9,998 the day prior to him reaching his milestone.

Interestingly, Brett went behind the gate with a chance to get his 10,000th win with a trotter trained by his wife, Stacey Van Huizen, which would have offered another parallel to Andy’s accomplishment. Alas, the horse made a break.

“That’s the way it goes,” Brett said with a laugh.

Two races later, Clair Umholtz-trained Flyin Bullets and Brett got the job done in a leg of the Ohio Sire Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers. It was their third OSS win together, putting Flyin Bullets at the top of her division’s standings.

“She’s a nice filly,” Brett said. “I’ve got a few pretty good stakes horses and that definitely makes things more fun. But I look forward to going to race every night. That feeling is still there. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing.”

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