Day At The Track

Aaron Miller gets first career win as driver

04:26 AM 17 Jun 2011 NZST
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Aaron Miller secured his first career
Aaron Miller secured his first career - driving and training win with Cambest Treasure

The win behind Cambest Treasure will forever hold significance for harness racing trainer-driver Aaron Miller. The 32-year-old reinsman secured his first career driving and training win with the mare in the eighth race at Hoosier Park on Tuesday, June 14.

At odds of $11.30 to one, Cambest Treasure began her trip from post three and settled in nicely behind Ring Around Rosie and Tyler Smith through the first quarter in a time of :28.3. Race favorite Don’t Lose Her and Peter Wrenn quickly rallied to the lead to set the remaining fractions of :59.0 and 1:28.3.

In the stretch, Miller found a seam and was able to move out for clearance and head to the finish, posting his first win in a time of 1:56.4. Don’t Lose Her held on for second over Ring Around Rosie, who stayed close for third.

Owned by Michelle Smallwood of Brooksville, Fla., Cambest Treasure scored her third win of the year in five starts, but her first under the direction of Miller. The four-year-old Cambest mare also lowered her career best time by four seconds.

“I knew she (Cambest Treasure) was better than she was the previous week,” said Miller. “I thought she had a shot when she got out behind Sam (Widger). She had tons of pace. She’s a nice mare and I really like her. Even though we won by a length, I still didn’t think I’d won. It didn’t sink in until I was on the backstretch.”

Miller trained Cambest Treasure down over the winter and when she was ready to race, sent her to Raceway Park where she won two races before bringing her back to Hoosier Park in late May. Her first start for Miller was a second place finish. Her Hoosier Park win was the first time Miller had guided her in a race.

A native of Silver Lake, Ind., Miller has been around horses most of his life. He has had success on the Trottingbred circuit in Indiana for 16 years and has pulled in several leading trainer and driver titles for that racing breed. He still dabbles with Trottingbreds and currently has three in training with a friend, getting ready for the upcoming racing season.

At the age of 17, Miller went to work for Brian Pinske in Florida, learning the ins and outs of the larger breed from both Pinske and assistant trainer Tony Alagna. The following year, he attended the U.S. Trotting Association’s driving school and got his qualifying license. It wasn’t until years later that Miller began to pursue a career as both a driver and trainer in the harness racing industry.

Two years ago, Miller went to work for Erv Miller in Springfield, Ill. but when the job required him to leave for the East Coast, he opted to stay in the Midwest to be closer to his six-year-old son, Cody. Last season, he stayed in his home state and continued to work toward his goal of having his own stable.

“The opportunity came up for me to come down to Hoosier Park with trainer Gary Wilcox last year,” said Miller. “Gary helped me get my “P” license. This is the first year I’ve had my own stable. I’ve got four horses right now, but should be getting two more soon.”

Miller has always been quick to step up and assist with different promotions throughout the year. In fact, Cambest Treasure has been assisting with Charity Chariots this season. She is one of six horses that have been giving rides each Saturday in June. Racing fans get the unique opportunity to drive a racehorse with their favorite Celebrity Standardbred Driver for a fee of $20. All proceeds raised during the promotion go directly to the charity of the driver selected, amounting to more than $1,000 already this season. Now in its third year, Charity Chariots continues through two more Saturday afternoons in June from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in the Grandstand Paddock.

Tammy KNOX

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