Last month's Pennsylvania East Meets West Challenge champion, Brett Miller, has bought a home just 10 minutes from The Meadows Racetrack. In fact the 38-year-old Ohio-born harness racing driver had only been in his new digs just two days when he was contacted by Harnesslink.
With him were his wife Stacey, and children Brayden (5), Charley (2) and Bentley (8 months). Life is pretty good for the Columbus-native.
He’s won seven driving titles and amassed winning purses of $1 million or more since 2000 - including $4.5m or more in the last three seasons.
He’s driven many good horses includingand Big Bad John.
“I’m really looking forward to living here. The track couldn’t be any closer and for me that’s great for my work. The Meadows is the track where I earn my living and I really enjoy driving there,” Miller said.
Miller was driving mostly at Northfield Park in Ohio before coming to drive at The Meadows four years ago. The couple are pleased to be out of their rented apartment and set to start another chapter in their lives.
“I like being close to The Meadows. It’s a bit different in the summer when the stakes races are on. That’s when I travel to placers like Chester, Pocono, Yonkers and the Meadowlands. But apart from my family my life is pretty much racing, and that's the way I like it. I've always loved driving,” Miller said.
In a catch-driving career spanning back to 1992 Miller has claimed two Northfield Park driving titles; two at Tioga Downs, and one each at Hoosier Park in Indiana, and Raceway Park in Toledo.
Then on October 15 Miller beat eight of the State’s best in the East Meets West Pennsylvania Driving Challenge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The challenge pitted the finest drivers from Pocono against the best from The Meadows, with $50,000 in bonuses on the line for the participants.
Miller, who won three of the nine races included in the challenge, took the points lead right off the bat with a victory in the first race aboard Kristal Dream, and never relinquished it.
He’s won $4.7 million in purses this year – his second best year behind the $6.5 he netted in 2010. But even so Miller still has a wee way to go to achieving a seasonal goal.
“I’m the sort of person who likes to set goals and I like to stay as active as possible. Two of my goals are to win 400 races every year and to do the best I possibly can for my business clients.
“I haven’t trained a horse for several years now. This is my only income and I want to do well for myself and all those people who support me.”
As at today (November 1) Miller had driven 322 winners in 2011. His best season (win wise) was 639 in 2004.
All up Miller has won 5,634 races from 29,896 lifetime starts. He’s also placed 8,047 times and won a whopping $38.8 million in career stakes.
There are several top horsemen with the surname – Miller – but the only other horseman he is related to is cousin David (not Andy or Erv etc) - and obviously his father Del who is a horseman - as was his father, and his father.
“My great grandparents raced horses and so did both sides of my grandparents. Then of course his Imperial-based father Dad has driven 2,216 winners and also trained nine winners this season.
“I’ve been around horses all my life. As soon as I left High School I was grooming horses. I wanted my driver’s license as soon as I could get. Initially I worked for Ken Holiday and from there I was hooked in.”
Miller got his first driving opportunities with Eric Hamlet at Northfield Park when aged 18.
“I remember I got to drive my first real good open class horse thanks to Eric. He had a mare named Empress Osborne who bucked and kicked and nobody would drive her.
“I got on her and she won lots of races. She was a really fiery pacer,” Miller said.
Miller said the late John Lee helped him get many good drives as his career developed as did Virgil Morgan Junior. Bob Belcher was helpful too.
“They helped me and gave me many great opportunities and it was through Virgil I got to drivewhen he was racing against horses like Maltese Artist. He was a powerful pacer.”
In fact Maltese Artist provided Miller with one of his best victories when they teamed together to win the $125,000 Lake Erie Pace at Northfield Park on June 11, 2005.
Asked what he pursued outside of harness racing, Miller replied:
“It’s all family time. There’s not much time for much else in this job. My wife is Canadian though and is a big hockey fan. I like the Pittsburgh Penguins and I’m an NFL fan and like supporting the New York Jets.
by Duane RANGER (editor)
(1) Brett Miller interview:
(2) Thoughts on the 2011 East Meets West Pennsylvania Driving Challenge:
(3) Brett Miller is featured in this video winning with We Will See:
(4) Brett Miller supports the Pittsburg Penguins:
(5) And the New York Jets: