Chester, PA — Finding herself shuffled to a joint last with a quarter-mile to go in a stacked field, it was a surprise that Max Contract shook free and rallied to a 19-1 upset in Sunday’s (May 28) Betsy Ross Mares Pace at Harrah’s Philadelphia to most everyone.
Except for trainer Julie Miller.
“I had a lot of confidence in my mare,” said Miller. “I’m glad (driver) Andy (Miller) drove her how he did. You’ve got to have a lot of luck in these big races, and we had that today.”
Andy Miller was patient early with the 4-year-old daughter of Huntsville, electing to stalk from fourth while Racine Bell, Niki Hill and Amazing Dream N tussled through a torrid :25.4 first quarter. Todd McCarthy pushed to the fore with 9-5 favorite Niki Hill with just over a circuit to go, clearing Racine Bell and leaving Velocity Lady uncovered into a :53.1 half. Meanwhile, Max Contract was buried at the pegs in midfield and shuffled deeper off the pace as Niki Hill reached three-quarters in 1:21.
As Velocity Lady faded on the far turn — she gained to within a neck of second midway up the backstretch at the peak of her bid — Scott Zeron tipped Treacherous Dragon three-wide off cover, and Andy Miller aimed Max Contract for an opening in the four-path off the corner for home. In the final eighth, the pace collapsed and Niki Hill gave way to Treacherous Dragon, but Max Contract cascaded down the grandstand side to nab Treacherous Dragon by a scant nose in a seasonal best 1:49 for her ninth career win. Dougs Babe A rallied to finish third, missing by just a neck. Niki Hill faded to finish seventh in the eight-horse field.
All told, Max Contract has amassed $354,639 for Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Jean Goehlen. She paid $40.80 to win.
Having made just three starts as a 4-year-old, Max Contract has maintained continued praise from her conditioner.
“She’s built like a brick house,” Julie concluded. “She’s a strong, smart mare.”