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Miller successful last year at Del Mar

If this year’s Del Mar Thoroughbred Club meet, which begins July 21, is like last year’s Del Mar meet for Peter Miller, the San Luis Rey Downs trainer can expect success.

Miller’s 58 starts at Del Mar in 2009 produced 10 wins, eight second-place finishes, and six third-place results and accumulated $331,632 in earnings. His 10 wins placed him seventh among trainers at last year’s Del Mar meet.

“Any time you can be in the top ten during Del Mar is pretty special,” Miller said. “I feel real good about the meet.”

Miller had a winner on opening day at Del Mar last year; Punctual made her first start in that day’s fourth race and won the 5 1/2-furlong race by 7 1/2 lengths. One of his other opening day horses, Brother Man, led by a head after a quarter-mile, by 1 1/2 lengths after half a mile, and by 2 1/2 lengths entering the stretch before being overtaken in the stretch and finishing third.

Miller’s fourth-place finishes, which still provide six percent of the total purse, included Sterling Outlook in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity on September 7, 2009. “Horse ran well,” Miller said.

Miller also cited the success of his horses - and his desire to win - in less prestigious races. “When you’re running and your horses are running good, you’re winning races, it doesn’t matter whether they’re $10,000 claimers or stakes races to me,” he said.

Miller’s 10 wins included three on July 31, 2009, which was the first time in his career he had won three races in a single day. “That was amazing,” he said. “That was pretty special to win three in one day like that. That was an unbelievable day.”

Miller has won two races in a day several times.

Miller won the first race that day with Heathersdaddysbaby, who led throughout the 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares four years old and up and won by 1 1/4 lengths. In the third race, a six-furlong claiming race for three year olds and up, Desert Cowboy won by two lengths.

The ninth race that day was a 6 1/2-furlong contest. Self Insured won the race by a nose over Smooth and Savvy, who was trained by Miller. Miller felt that his second-place horse had been fouled and asked for a stewards’ inquiry. Self Insured was disqualified and Smooth and Savvy was declared the winner. “I think that’s the first time in history that a trainer’s claim of foul has been upheld,” Miller said.

It was the first time Miller had ever been successful after asking for a stewards’ inquiry.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, which had previously raced six days each week, went to a five-day week for 2009. “I prefer the five,” Miller said.

“It’s easier for me,” Miller said of the five-day week. “It’s easier on the help and on the horses.”

This year’s Del Mar Thoroughbred Club meet runs through September 8. “It’s a lot of work,” Miller said. “We have a great time doing it.”

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