Columbus, MN – Trainer Gene Miller had about as good a day as you possibly can at Running Aces on Saturday (Aug. 15), sweeping both features and picking up three wins from the three races that he participated in.
At 76 years young, Miller is still going strong and running a successful racing stable, and he is no stranger to winning. With his 744 wins from 4,110 career training starts while hitting the board 1,987 times lifetime for an impressive top three percentage of 48.35, that is an understatement.
Saturday’s success story started for Miller in one of the featured events, the $15,000 Minnesota-Sired sophomore pace, sending out Bunkerhill Phil, a horse he owns and bred. The gelded son of Vlos dominated last season as the 2-year-old state champion, but has had a tough opponent this season in It’s A Marcs World (Nick Roland) who, coming into today’s contest, had won five out of six matchups with Bunkerhill Phil.
Driver Braxten Boyd was aggressive off the gate with Bunkerhill Phil and served immediate notice that they wanted, and would get the front end from post three. There were plenty of other leavers today as Dubberyoo (Mooney Svendsen), Nothinbutagoodtime (Darrell Wright) and Get My Good Side (Rick Magee) all left quickly together. It’s A Marcs World did not fire off of the gate as usual. The opening quarter was up in :27 flat.
Boyd took full advantage of the front end with a :30.4 breather in the second panel before stepping on the gas for the third stanza (:28.4) with Dubberyoo applying mild pressure from first-over and It’s A Marcs World having to maneuver around poor cover as they turned for home.
Bunkerhill Phil ($20.60) had pace in reserve off of a perfect drive that kept his biggest rival just out of reach, as It’s A Marcs World came wide off of the turn and then ducked inside with a ton of late pace but could not get to Bunkerhill Phil who prevailed by a head in a career best 1:54.2 mile. Nothinbutagoodtime was home third.
Miller again teamed up with Braxten Boyd as they sent out Trump Train, in search of his first win of the season in a $3,800 claiming/condition pace. After getting away third from post four, Boyd activated Trump Train first over before the half and wore down the leaders as they headed into the final turn, taking control and holding off a late rally from Too Much Too Quick (Brady Jenson) in 1:57. Trump Train ($4) is owned by Wolfswinkel Pacers Inc.
The $10,000 Horses & Geldings Open Handicap Pace was up next for Miller and he sent out another starter for Wolfswinkel Pacers Inc in the 8-year-old Up Front Brad gelding Whatchyastarinat with Mooney Svendsen in the bike.
Race favorite Hoo Nien A (Chris Scicluna) made all the fractions on the front while Svendsen settled away fourth from post three, saving ground throughout the mile and finding room in the passing lane late to sweep by a stacked up field on the wire and grab the victory in 1:53 for his second win of the year and a seasonal mark. It was the twenty-sixth career win for Whatchyastarinat ($42.80) who has now earned $220,469.
Miller had three training wins, Wolfswinkel Pacers two wins and Boyd, with his driving double, were the only multiple race winners on the day.
Live racing returns to Running Aces on Sunday (Aug. 16) with first post at 1 p.m. and will feature a carryover of $2,727.60 in the 50-cent Hi-5 wager .