Hightstown, NJ — No day is the same in racing, which is what Uriah Miller most enjoys about working in the business. After spending almost a decade learning from others, the 22-year-old Ohio native went out on his own recently and has won races as both a trainer and driver.
“I enjoy the possibilities,” said Miller, who competes primarily at MGM Northfield Park. “It’s never the same day to day. You have a chance to do good, or be good, or happen upon that one gem of a horse. It’s exciting. It keeps life fun.”
Miller followed his older brother Emanuel “Manny” Miller, who now works for Ake Svanstedt’s training stable in New Jersey, into racing. Uriah began mucking stalls at the age of 13 at a training center near the family’s home in Beach City, Ohio. It was several years before he began jogging horses, and even longer before he started training, but Miller is happy with the way his apprenticeships worked out.
“I worked with horses my whole life on our farm, so I was very familiar with horses, but I knew nothing about racing,” Miller said. “I got brought along in what I call the correct way. I had to muck stalls for like two years, literally, and got to jog rarely, very rarely, for the first three years. I probably didn’t train a horse until I was 16 or 17.
“But ever since I started working, this has been my dream, although I never tried rushing it. I paid my dues for a long time. I always was asked why I didn’t have my trainer’s license, and I told people I wasn’t ready to have it yet, and I never really cared to drive until I felt I was ready. I wanted to learn a lot about the horse first.”
Not that Miller was unfamiliar with coaxing a bit of speed from a horse prior to his stable days.
“When I was Amish, I raced the buggies,” Miller said. “That’s probably where I got the love for racing. That’s when I learned you can speak to a horse with your hands, and you can make them want to do things for you without much effort. You make them happy, and they try so hard for you.”
Miller, who now lives in Northfield, got his first training win in April with Pacin To Paydaze, a pacer he owns. For the year, Miller’s stable has posted 16 top-three finishes in 40 starts, winning four, and earned $43,618.
He got his first driving triumph in late July in an amateur race at Northfield, guiding Slated To Win to victory for trainer Cory Kreiser. Slated To Win won by 2-1/4 lengths, and Miller thrust his right arm upward in celebration as he crossed the finish line.
“I said I was going to do that for my first driving win, and my goal is to do it for my last one as well,” Miller said. “I was very happy. It’s one of the biggest thrills I ever had.”
Miller has made 15 more starts in the sulky and added three more top-three finishes.
“I’ve been getting a couple drives, it’s starting to come around, and I’m going to try to start driving my own now,” said Miller, who in addition to having three horses in training is a blacksmith and does odd jobs around the track. “I would like to be a great driver and trainer as well. I feel like I do both pretty well, but every day you learn something new.”
Miller’s patient approach and day-by-day attitude has paid off.
“I always wanted to be on my own, and I’ve been on my own now for over six months,” Miller said. “I’m very happy.”