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The Miller Family to likely celebrate the Snow Angel Final
Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - from the Meadowlands Publicity Department

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East Rutherford, NJ --- Regardless of who wins the $47,300 Snow Angel Series Final on Thursday night at the Meadowlands, there will still be plenty of holiday cheer amongst the Miller family.

Trainer Julie Miller and her brother-in-law, Erv Miller, will send out five of the 10 finalists in the Snow Angel for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Julie is represented by the trio of Spanish Rosey, Ms Maggie, and Ima Sporty Lady, while Erv has the 7-5 favorite, Enhance The Night, and the 4-1 second choice, Heavenly Beauty, in the evening’s sixth race.

"Luckily, there are no hard feelings," said Julie Miller, who is the wife of Erv’s younger brother and top reinsman, Andy Miller. "We just all want our horses to race the best they can and may the best horse win."

Julie Miller, 34, trains a stable of 10 horses at Gaitway Farm in Englishtown, N.J. Her Snow Angel finalists are all recent additions from the Chicago circuit. Spanish Rosey (post three, 8-1), who came by way of trainer Homer Hochstetler, finished a close second in her Meadowlands debut on November 30. In last week’s second leg of the Snow Angel she finished third after being forced wide on the turn. Owned by M&J Stables of Monee, Ill., Spanish Rosey enters the Snow Angel Final with a record of four wins, eight seconds, and five third in 39 career starts.

A referral from trainer John Butenschoen, Im A Sporty Lady (post nine, 10-1) was also a game second in the opening round of the Snow Angel Series, but faded to a distanced 11th in last week’s second leg after being parked to the half against strong winds. However, she rebounded with a 1:56.3 victory in a qualifying mile two days later. The daughter of Sportsmaster has hit the board in 13 of 36 starts for owner Jean Goehlen of Aurora, Ill.

"They’re all pretty even in their abilities," Miller noted. "Ima Sporty Lady has been racing really well, except for that last start. She was in an 11-horse field, it was a very windy night and I think Andy [Miller] thought he could get around Cat (Manzi, driving Quick Chick). And, of course, Spanish Rosey was following him. The race just didn’t work out for either of them, so we just have to throw that start out for them."

Of the three fillies, Ms Maggie (post six, 12-1) has required the most attention. After the filly finished eighth in the first leg of the Snow Angel, Miller lightened her training regimen and tinkered with her equipment. Ms Maggie responded with a much-improved runner-up finish in last week’s second leg. She rallied off a third-over trip and charged home in :27.1 seconds to finish three-quarters of a length behind Fionavar Hanover. Ms Maggie will have the driving services of Miller’s husband in Thursday’s final.

"She was originally in Erv’s stable," she said. "Her owners (James Geis and Bert Hochsprung) put her through the (Standardbred Horse Sale, in November) and bought her back. They sent her to me to race. She’s a little more challenging, while the other two are an absolute pleasure to be around. She’s overcome a lot. I asked Andy to drive her because she is the type of horse that benefits a lot from having the same person drive her each time. She can’t leave as well as the others.

"Post six will give us some options in the final, but I hope to keep her up close. I don’t want her to have to make that dreaded first-over move. We changed her training style and backed off her in training. We also changed her equipment around quite a bit. Last week, she seemed a lot better, and I think she will race great in the final.

"I am so thankful that John Butenschoen, Homer Hochstetler and Erv have sent me horses to train," she added. "It makes me very proud that they trust in my abilities."

Although she has a bachelor’s degree in science, Miller’s first love has always been racing.

"I got my training license when I was 18-years-old," she said. "I grew up in Iowa, where racing is more seasonal, with county fairs in the summertime. Later, I started racing in Illinois and worked for my father, Owen Julius. I got my pari-mutuel license at Quad City Downs, and then went to college and earned a degree in science from Southern Illinois University. I met Andy when he was working for trainer Tex Moats. We got married after I graduated from college, and I began to pursue a career in training."

Julie and Andy Miller have been married for 10 years and have two children, 8-year-old T.J. and 6-year-old Olivia. In August, the couple purchased a home in Millstone, N.J., a decision prompted by Andy’s successful switch to driving full-time at the Meadowlands. A leader on the Chicago circuit for many years, Andy Miller finished eighth in the 2006 January-August driver standings at the Meadowlands, with 73 wins and $2.1 million in earnings. Here's the field:

The Snow Angel final – Purse $47,300
HN - PP - Horse - Driver - Trainer - Line
1 - 4 - Fionavar Hanover - Dan Dube - Mickey Burke - 8-1
1A - 10 - Leavea Smile - Cat Manzi - Mickey Burke - 8-1
2 - 1 - TJ's Molly May - Ron Pierce - Darran Cassar - 12-1
3 - 2 - Enhance The Night - Yannick Gingras - Erv Miller - 7-5
4 - 3 - Spanish Rosey - David Miller - Julie Miller - 8-1
5 - 5 - Mysterious Dragon - Brian Sears - Mark Silva - 5-1
6 - 6 - Ms Maggie - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 12-1
7 - 7 - Rare Filly - Steve Smith - Mike Riley - 15-1
8 - 8 - Heavenly Beauty - Patrick Berry - Erv Miller - 4-1
9 - 9 - Ima Sporty Lady - Mike Lachance - Julie Miller - 10-1

Nomination forms available

Nomination forms for the 2007 Winter Series and Berry’s Creek are now available on the Meadowlands Web site, at www.thebigm.com.


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