Injured driver Andy Miller scheduled to return to racing along with his world-champion mare Perfect Alliance
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – After keeping each other company on the sidelines for the past several months, driver Andy Miller and his world champion trotting mare, Perfect Alliance, are nearing an official return to the races.
After fracturing a pair of lumbar vertebrae in an accident at Yonkers Raceway on April 15, Miller returned to the races Tuesday (October 14) morning to drive the mare to a 35-length victory in 1:54.2 in a qualifying race at Harrah’s Philadelphia.
“I felt very good this morning, obviously I’m still feeling the injury a little bit but it’s not bothering me,” said Miller. “I plan to ease back into racing. I’m not ready to drive 10 horses a day, but my plan is to be fully back by the time the Meadowlands opens on November 14.”
Perfect Alliance was also off-track for more than a month this summer. Beginning in June, she spent six weeks recovering at Allerage Farm in New York after battling sickness and other health issues upon returning from racing in Canada. The 4-year-old mare stormed to an 11-race winning streak earlier this season, including a win in the Miss Versatility Series at Woodbine in a world-record time of 1:51.2
“She came back from her time off and looks super,” said trainer Julie Miller, who is also Andy’s wife. “She put weight on and she’s been feeling great. We took her with us to Lexington last month so we could work with her every day. All along, we’ve said we would let her tell us when she was ready.”
With few racing options in the immediate future, Team Miller says the plan is to have Perfect Alliance qualify for racing once again next week. Her first race back is scheduled to be the $148,000 Muscle Hill Mare Trot at Vernon Downs on November 1 followed by the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands. Perfect Alliance is owned in partnership by Jeff Gural’s Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, Dave Stolz and Art Geiger.
“We know everyone has a watchful eye on her,” said Miller. “The owners supported the decision to give her a rest, especially after she raced so hard over the winter. I think we did the right thing by her. Most of the other top mares have been racing hard straight through the summer and fall and hopefully we can be fresh and pick up the pieces here at the end of the year.”
Andy has a final checkup with his doctor Wednesday then will plan his official return to the races. While he’s looking forward to the return, his wife is taking a more cautious approach: “If it were up to me, he’d only drive our own horses at first. I’ve gotten used to having him around all the time during his injury. It was nice to see him so much,” stated Julie Miller.
Andy Miller has won more than 8,000 races in his career with purse earnings of more than $100 million.