Day At The Track

Miller has "Classic" hopes for Keystone Eureka

01:26 AM 27 Sep 2019 NZST
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Ryan Miller, harness racing
Ryan Miller trains Keystone Eureka
Lauren Honigford photo

WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 26, 2019 -- Keystone Eureka, a winner of a division of The Standardbred stakes at the Delaware County Fair on Jugette Day, will try to build on that achievement in Saturday's $92,499 Keystone Classic for freshman harness racing filly pacers at The Meadows.

She'll leave from post 7 in race 9 with Tony Hall driving for trainer Ryan Miller and owner Miller Racing Stable. Saturday's card also features a $70,900 Keystone Classic for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers. First post is 1:05 PM.

Miller, 31, may not be a household name yet, but he's been immersed in the sport since he was a child learning the ropes at the small breeding operation of his grandparents, Doc and Dorothy Miller. Doc, by the way, is not a doctor; he's perhaps best known for his ownership of the champion mare Eternal Camnation, who banked nearly $3.75 million.

"They let me bring in the mares in foal, and I just fell in love with horses," Ryan Miller recalls. "The funny thing is, no other grandchildren, nieces or nephews in the family likes horses, but from the moment I saw them, that's all I wanted to do."

Miller, who is based in Greenville, Ohio, got serious about his future profession early, participating in a Harness Horse Youth Foundation camp and matriculating at SUNY Morrisville, from which he was graduated with a business management degree in the equine program. He apprenticed with Ray Schnittker for about six years and has operated his own stable since then.

Despite his youth, Miller has enjoyed considerable success with his stable of about 16 head. He trained the trotter Magic Vacation, who went in 1:55.3 to set the track record for freshman geldings at Scioto Downs.

Among his older campaigners, the pacer he named for his grandparents, Docdor Friskie, is the most prominent and still adding to his $265,454 bankroll.

Miller gave $60,000 for Keystone Eureka, a daughter of Somebeachsomwhere-Sir Erika Z Tam, and is pleased with her performance -- first or second in seven of her eight starts.

"The draw shouldn't affect her," he says. "She has an extremely quick switch. If Tony wants her on top, she'll get there for him. She's probably the most versatile filly I've ever sat behind."

Yet Miller deliberately has kept his youngster away from the more heralded stars of her division.

"I'm kind of a realist," he says. "We kept her in the (PA) stallion series because we hoped to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Will she be a Breeders Crown filly next year? She's probably not of that stature. Maybe she'll become a good Open mare, something I can breed myself. I'd be interested in that."

On the wagering front, Saturday's program offers two carryovers -- $2,046.92 in the Pick 4 (races 3-6), $966.51 in the final-race Super Hi-5.

By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

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