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Classy veteran Sevruga to tackle Meadowlands' best on Friday
Thursday, March 19, 2015 - by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

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Kimberly French
Louisville, KY --- He’s earned $1.06 million, set his lifetime mark of 1:50.3f at age five, will be returning to the scene of his greatest triumphs on Friday night (March 20) and has the first stall in his barn. It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane. It’s Sevruga.

“The horse was sold in July to Joe Pennacchio and he really cares about him,” said Julie Miller, the gelding’s conditioner. “He realized he might not be doing as well as he should have been and he sent him back to us. It is so terrific to have him back home. Right when he got off the van, his ears were pricked and he took up exactly like he had never left.”

The 7-year-old son of SJ’s Caviar and the Malabar Man mare Stunning Lindsey will compete in a $27,500 Open Handicap at the Meadowlands on Friday. It is race six on the card and Sevruga will leave from post position five with his regular pilot, Andy Miller, in the bike. The venerable trotter will take on six foes and is listed at 6-1 on the morning line. It is his second pari-mutuel engagement of 2015 after finishing sixth at Dover Downs on March 11.

 
USTA/Ken Weingartner photo
Million-dollar winner Sevruga will start in the Open Handicap on Friday at The Meadowlands.

“I can qualify him three times, but he’s just too smart and knows the difference between that and a real race,” Miller said. “He knows when there is money on the line and gets much more out of his races. At Dover he came out of that race a little sick, but he’s fine now. I expect him to take a couple starts before he is really fit.”

Sevruga has faced the starter on 85 occasions with 30 victories, 19 second place finishes and 10 thirds. Unraced at age two, the gelding earned just under $150,000 as a 3-year-old while only performing in two races around the $100,000 purse mark. At that time he was trained by Tyler Raymer and co-owned by Raymer and Jim Meittinis.

He was first sent to Andy and Julie Miller as a 4-year-old and earned $244,000 from 21 races. He was also fourth in that year’s Nat Ray and Maxie Lee Memorial behind champion Chapter Seven.

It was as a 5-year-old, however, when Sevruga showed how classy he was. He banked $484,575, compiled a record of 22-9-7-2 and posted triumphs in the John Cashman Jr. Memorial and the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and only failed to hit cash a check twice.

“We were so tickled to death when he won those two stakes,” Miller said. “Especially after all the opens he had been in and he proved he could go anywhere as he had won at Pocono, Chester and Yonkers. We were so happy for him that he was able to accomplish that.”

After failing to cash a check in the 2013 Breeders Crown and Allerage Pace at the end of his campaign, it was discovered the horse had a piece of bone jutting off the side of an ankle and after Dr. Patty Hogan removed the chip, Sevruga showed up for his 6-year-old campaign as good as new.

He captured his first two starts, was second in the third, then third in the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial final and second in the Maxie Lee.

Shortly after a fifth place finish in his Cashman elimination, Sevruga was sold and transferred to the barn of Kevin Carr. In his seven starts for Carr he won only one time.

Pennacchio returned him to the Millers in the fall and in the six times he raced for them to end his season, he collected a win, two seconds and a third.

For the 2014 season, the gelding added $186,870 to his bank account from 23 races.

“We gave him some time off to freshen him up and now he is ready to go,” Miller said. “I don’t know if he can keep up with some of the top stakes horses out there, especially with the group of 4-year-olds we have coming out, but he still enjoys being out there.

We have been so lucky to have him and I can’t say enough good things about Joe Pennacchio giving him back to us. When you are a trainer, it’s a job, but there are some horses you really fall in love with and he is it.”

As for his personality, Sevruga is exactly what you would expect of a horse that has put together such an outstanding career.

“There is not much to say about him because he is such a pleasure to be around in every possible way,” Miller said. “He loves the attention he gets being in the first stall and he just always behaves like a classy, old gentleman. Like I said before, he might have lost a step, but he showed he can still get it done in his qualifying win at the Meadowlands on Feb. 26. We feel he can still do really well in the Opens, but no matter what he does, we are just so, so, happy to have him home.”


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