The veteran trainer has three horses in the $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters -- Designed To Be, Bambino Supreme and Cee Bee Yes.
While one might think it would be three times the stress worrying about a trio of horses rather than just one, Miller feels that’s almost impossible by now.
“At this time of year I’ve hit my ceiling with my stress level; I don’t know if it can get any more on me,” she said with a laugh. “I’d rather be in this position than watching the race in the grandstand, that’s for sure.
|USTA/Ken Weingartner photo|
|Trainer Julie Miller will start a trio of fillies in the Delvin Miller Memorial.|
“My horses are like my kids. They all have their strengths and attitudes and all three of them are so distinct, but at the same time they race well and they all deserve to be in this race. They’ll prove what they are.”
When she uses the word “distinct,” Miller isn’t embellishing as it is fairly easy to distinguish between the three horses.
“They’re all night and day,” she said. “All three look different. Designed To Be is real tall, Bambino Supreme is more lackadaisical and athletic, like a stud colt, and Cee Bee Yes is the sweetheart of the group. So I’ve got the wild one, the ornery one and the sweetie.
“They all can race. All three have raced in all different ways. They’ve all been very versatile, which I’m fortunate for.”
Miller’s top threat in Saturday’s 11-horse field will be Designed To Be, who has won both of her starts this year with Brian Sears driving. Julie’s husband, Andy Miller, was injured in an April accident and needed vertebrae surgery, so Sears has taken over (Andy is improving and went for his 12-week check-up on Wednesday).
|Curtis Salonick photo|
|Designed To Be won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in a world-record-equaling 1:51.3 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.|
Designed To Be, bred and owned by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz, set or equaled world records both last year and this year and has won six of 10 career starts with three second-place finishes. She will be up against some tough competition in the Miller, with horses such as Shake It Cerry, Cooler Schooner, Heaven’s Door and Lifetime Pursuit.
“She’s been real good this year,” Miller said. “We’ve been trying to pick our spots and manage her correctly. She’s coming into form quite nicely. I was happy with her at Pocono (winning a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in world-record-equaling 1:51.3). She was handy and did everything Brian asked of her.
“She’s our high hopes for this deep class. There are some nice horses out there. I think it’s really just going to come down to the trip, and who’s the best on that day.”
Miller feels Designed To Be has done a nice job of continuing the success she enjoyed last year, when she captured the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and won a division of the Bluegrass Stakes in a world-record 1:52.2.
“She showed me a lot as a 2-year-old, and we were hoping she would come back to that form at 3, which she has,” the trainer said. “It’s like anything, you try your best and keep your fingers crossed and she’s bounced back with another nice year.
“With Andy being on the injured reserve list, Brian was nice enough the help us out and he’s committed to us, and it’s been going well. We have her staked to everything. Obviously the grand daddy of them all is the (Hambletonian) Oaks for the elite group. I’d just like to see her stay healthy and have a great year.”
|Nigel Soult photo|
|Cee Bee Yes has banked $266,432 in her career, with six wins in 16 starts.|
Cee Bee Yes, owned by Jason and Doug Allen, has also enjoyed some success, having won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship as a 2-year-old and finishing second in the sire stakes final this year. She has two wins and two seconds in five starts in 2014.
“She went (1):52.1 in the sire stakes and we’re hoping to get a little more out of her,” said Miller, who has Andy’s nephew, Marcus Miller, driving Cee Bee Yes. “She’s a sweetheart, a nice horse to be around. She deserves this shot, she’s a nice filly.
“Marcus gets along well with her. She’s handy; she’s got gate speed and can come from behind.”
Bambino Supreme enters the race winless in five starts, but has a pretty fair driver in the sulky with Tim Tetrick. She enters the race off a third-place finish behind Shake It Cerry and Cooler Schooner in a division of the Pennsylvania All-Stars.
The lightly raced filly is owned by Shakoor’s Racing Stable and Kapildeo Singh.
“One of my owners sent her to me after she was racing up in Canada; I haven’t had her that long,” Miller said. “She shows some talent, so after her first few starts I had with her I wanted to give her a chance.
“They trained her nice. I don’t have a strong feeling with her, but this will be her first time on the Meadowlands with a big track, and we have Timmy driving her so that doesn’t hurt anything. I’m going tell him to put her out there and see what she’s got.”
Julie will be watching closely, when she’s not watching two other horses, of course.
Just look for the trainer with her head on a swivel.