“At six or seven I was jogging and around eight or nine training myself,” says driver David Miller. No surprise that the man of 11,000 wins started out young with his love for the sport. “My parents my whole family was in it so I was at the track young,” and knew at the age of 7 or 8 that he wanted to make harness racing his life.
A recent inductee to the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, Miller made sure to always find ways to help out and work at tracks throughout his youth. His daughter recently said to him “not everybody’s like you and knows what they want to do at ten years old.” Miller laughs and thinks about how lucky he is that all the hard work has paid off. He quit school as soon as got his p-license and has only wanted to drive horses his whole life.
Miller has earned $180 million in purses over his career, which is No. 4 all time, but what he’s proud of the horses he’s worked with. Winning the Jug with No Pan Intended in 2003, the last horse to capture the pacing Triple Crown, was a thrill for Miller that didn’t wear off for more than a week afterwards. He still smiles at how he captured the Breeders Crown in 2006 driving Susie’s Magic, a horse that had 25-1 odds. The biggest surprise he’s ever had driving a horse, Miller says he “looked over at [Ron] Pierce [driving Passionate Glide] at the wire and was like I can’t believe that just happened. I was thinking we were lucky to be third, and then she shot between and nailed them.”
Miller hopes he’s joined in the Hall of Fame by the horse Magician. A horse he still looks up to, Magician was Miller’s first big horse to drive on the East Coast when he moved here more than a decade ago. The matchup went strong for four seasons, whether sick or tired, Magician was ” just ultra-tough” and was always there to match Miller’s enthusiasm for racing.
Miller was voted Driver of the Year in 2003, has won a total of 11 Triple Crown races (combined pacing and trotting), won 14 Breeders Crown trophies and is the only driver in history to win at least $10 million in purses 12 times. Still, being inducted in to the Hall of Fame is humbling and Miller says”the biggest honor you can receive in your profession, I think, is for people to think of you that way.” He adds jokingly though, “Hopefully [my career]’s not over yet.”
This interview is part of our new weekly features of faces in the sport, from fans to owners, trainers to grooms.