by Bill Finley
Marcus Miller had always had this scenario in the back of his mind. Not only would he win a Breeders Crown final some day, but when it happened it would happen for his father, Erv.
That wasn’t supposed to happen Saturday night (Oct. 29) at the Meadowlands as the Miller-Miller horse, Someomensomewhere, was being overlooked by the bettors. Sent off at 17-1, she was expected to have her hands full with, among others, 1-2 favorite and Breeders Crown elim winner Roaring To Go. In the elims, the Miller trainee raced well, but was beaten a length as the 7-5 favorite by Tori Hanover. Even as the horses crossed the wire, Marcus Miller didn’t know that his dream had come true. The finish was extremely close as Someomensomewhere and Agent Q hit the wire in tandem. It took the placing judges six or seven minutes to put up the number six, Marcus Miller’s number.
“This is absolutely the best, winning the Breeders Crown with my dad,” the 27-year-old driver said. “He has worked so hard to help me get to where I am. We’ve put in a lot of time together. We’ve always worked well together. I couldn’t have pictured my first Breeders Crown win any other way.”
Father was just as pleased as son.
“This was special,” he said. “I’ve won some Breeders Crowns, but to win one with Marcus is extra special.”
Someomensomewhere is by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Western Hanover mare Omen Hanover. Omen Hanover raced for trainer Nick Surick and owner Howard Schneidler and was a warrior on the racetrack. She started 217 times, won 45 races and earned just over $1 million. Surick and Schneidler bred her to Somebeachsomewhere and this is her first foal. Surick, of course, is an accomplished trainer, but he chose to keep the foal with Schneidler and give her to Miller to train.
The connection between Surick and Team MIller is a natural one as Surick dates top amateur driver Hannah Miller, Marcus’ sister.
“I just don’t train enough babies and you need to have a lot of babies in order to get good at training them,” Surick explained. “So I just let Erv train them and it works out for me. It gets me a little vacation time in Florida (where Miller readies his babies) in the winter and I can get down there when it’s cold.”
If you employ Erv Miller you’re likely to get Marcus Miller as your driver. He’s young and hungry and has won a lot of races, but he is not considered to be in the league of a Yannick Gingras or Tim Tetrick. Entering last night’s race he had never so much as driven in a Breeders Crown final.
“In the 11 starts she’s had, Marcus has never given her anything but a very good drive,” Surick said.
For Marcus Miller, the goal remains to become the type of driver that regularly picks up top mounts in events like the Breeders Crown. This win can’t hurt.
“I think this is kind of what it takes,” Marcus said. “Scott (Zeron) proved that with a couple big wins like the Jug a few years ago and he’s about the same age as me. So, yes, I am hoping something like this can help break me loose. I feel comfortable out there with those guys now. I feel like I can drive with them. I don’t feel intimidated against them anymore. I’m not sure I could have said that a few years ago. I’m happy with the way things are progressing.
The original plan was for Surick to eventually to take over the training duties with Someomensomewhere, either as a three-year-old or four-year-old. Surick, who picked up his first Breeders Crown win in any capacity, said that may no longer be the case.
“The plan was always for Erv to train this horse at two and at some point I was going to take over,” he said. “It’s going to be hard to change things off this. It’s not broke, why fix it?”
For Agent Q, driver Dave Miller and trainer Aaron Lambert, this was a tough beat. She’s finished second in four straight races and in six of her last seven. She came very close to breaking her case of second-itis in a Breeders Crown race. It just didn’t work out.
“I was back there next-to-last, I think,” Dave Miller said. “I went three deep earlier than I wanted to, and I just missed. It’s tough. The draw (she had post 10) got us, that was all. She overcame a rough trip. If I had any kind of trip I think she would have won. I thought the last step I got there, to be honest with you. I thought she got up in time, but she didn’t. She couldn’t have been too far off.”
Roarin To Go faded in deep stretch and finished fourth.