by Allison Conte
We sat down with driver/trainer Andy Miller as he returns to the track after fracturing a pair of lumbar vertebrae in an accident at Yonkers Raceway on April 15 to talk about what it means to him to be back in the bike.
Do you feel like you’re close to being back at 100%?
Not quite, but hopefully once I get back in the bike for a month or so I will be. I’m not quite there but it feels pretty good.
Is it hard to pace yourself in coming back?
I guess not really. I’d like to jump back into it right away and do as much as I did before I got hurt but it’s gonna take a couple of months to be doing that much. You know, I feel good and everything but it’s going to take a little time to get the bounce back. I want to ease into it and not jump into it full force.
What has gotten you through the past few months of not driving?
Just the training, watching them train and stuff and watching the horses race. It’s been tough not being able to drive them, but watching them race, you know it’s taking up most of my time.
What was the hardest part of not being able to drive?
Just because I’m used to being out there so much, it was hard to sit on the sidelines and just watch them. I think it’s been an advantage for us for me to have been able to drive them all.
What did your rehab involve?
I did 8 weeks of rehab. Mostly just strengthening my core and a lot of stretching and some massaging of my back just to get the muscles to where they felt better and they weren’t aching. Mostly just a lot of exercises to stretch and strengthen my core.
How did you feel getting ready to go behind the gate again for the first time qualifying Perfect Alliance?
I’ve been jogging and training quite a bit over the last month and with her it was basically just another training mile. She was kind of by herself and she’s good on the gate and she went around the track like it was a training mile.
Did she enjoy her break?
Yeah, she needed it. She had some health issues and was tired after a couple of trips to Canada, you know, she seems good now.
What was she like training back?
Very, very good. We actually took her to Lexington with us so she would be with us while we were there and she trained good down there and we qualified when we got back. I’ll probably qualify her again next Thursday at Pocono, and then she goes to the Muscle Hill at Vernon.
What young horses are you most excited to sit behind?
(Laughs) All of them. I don’t know as far as which ones, obviously I was excited to drive Perfect Alliance when she was coming back and a couple of the others. Designed To Be, hopefully she’ll come back for the Breeders Crown and hopefully we have a few others ready by then and I can get some good, live drives.
When will we see you in a pari-mutual start?
We actually put one in for Tuesday at Yonkers, so I might go to Yonkers on Tuesday.