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Andy Miller 'crushes' the competition these days
Thursday, January 18, 2007 - from the Meadowlands Publicity Department

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East Rutherford, NJ --- The “Orange Crush” was sizzling last week.

Driver Andy Miller, who wears distinctive orange colors, had a nine-winner week, including triples on Wednesday and Thursday nights, to earn Charlie Brown’s Driver of the Week honors at the Meadowlands.

It looks like his decision to relocate to New Jersey is already paying big dividends.

“Things are going real good right now,” said the 38-year-old Illinois native. “I first came here in the winter of 2003 when racing was suspended in Chicago, and it worked out well. I didn’t have the power I like to have, but I was just trying to get my foot in the door. I did have some success here with my brother Erv’s horses.

“I pretty much made up my mind to stay here last year, unless they got slots or something serious happened in Illinois,” Miller added. “My plan was to stay here in the spring and go back to Chicago for the summer. My wife, Julie, and I purchased a house in Millstone, New Jersey in August, and moved out here in time to get our kids started in school. I went back when the meet was over to drive in a few stakes, then packed up and moved back here permanently.”

In 2006, Miller posted a career best as far as earnings with $5.9 million, of which nearly $2.7 million was from his efforts at the Meadowlands. He now has career totals of more than 5,000 wins and $45 million in purses.

“Back in 2000, I won over 600 races, but the money is the big thing,” he noted. “Unfortunately, Illinois seems to be on the decline, and here on the East Coast things are getting better. It’s taken some time, but I knew you have to be able to adapt to where you go and every place is obviously different. To win here is a little bit different, too.

“Confidence and patience are two key words,” Miller explained. “You can’t have a chip on your shoulder or something bothering you. You’re going to get beat here and there, and you have to be able to turn the page. You can’t beat yourself up. It’s equally important to get noticed by storming home with a longshot and making sure you don’t mess up with a favorite. You have to have a lot of discipline with a heavy favorite to not throw the race away. You always have to do what’s right for the horse. Sometimes the race doesn’t go as expected.”

Miller can count on a lot of driving opportunities from two members of his family. Both his brother, Erv, who has a 150-horse stable, and wife, Julie, provide many of his mounts. On Friday night, three of his eight drives are trained by Erv (Devilfish in the first, Cammabis in the third and Crawdad in the tenth) and one by Julie (Spanish Rosey in the sixth).

“Devilfish has always had some lameness issues, and Erv has done a great job of protecting him,” he said. “When the horse does get a little sore, Erv gets him to come back good. It’s not so much that the lameness has gone, but he’s developed more and can deal with his little problems better now.

“I think he’s a freak,” Miller added. “He’s an amazing horse with the way he won last week. Hopefully, he’ll come back again this week and do it again. I never pulled the ear plugs and never ask him. It was a nice night but a mile in 1:48.3 in January is still pretty strong. That was the most thrilling win I had last week. He has a lot of speed, and it’s a matter of putting it all together consistently. He’s getting mature enough to handle things.

“Spanish Rosey is kind of a funny mare,” he noted. “Sometimes she just doesn’t try hard late, when it comes time to passing that last horse. She hangs a little bit like she did on January 5, but she’s also getting better with every start. Last week, she charged home to win from post 10. We’ve been messing around with her training, trying to keep her brave and make her want to pass horses, and I think it’s working. She’s in another series coming up.

“Crawdad went a huge trip last week,” he recalled. “They went slow fractions early, he came first up and gutted it out all the way home in :26.3 to just get beat on the wire.”

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