Julie Miller would love to scratch Yonkers Trot off her bucket list

The trainer has three entered in tonight’s eliminations which drew a total of 12 trotters.

by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Of the 12 colts and geldings who will contest tonight’s eliminations of the Yonkers Trot, three are trained by Julie Miller. She will send out 9-5 morning line favorite Devious Man in the first $40,000 elimination in race 6. The coupled entry of Money Macintosh and Top Flight Angel are 9-5 in the early odds behind Guardian Angel As at 8-5 in the second elimination one race later. Miller is hopeful all three of her starters will finish fourth or better to earn a spot behind the gate on Sept. 2 for the $500,000 final.

“That would be wonderful. That’s the game plan,” Miller said. “That’s what I mapped out on the chalk board, but it would be wonderful. I’m hoping that’s the outcome on Saturday evening.”

The second jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown, the Yonkers Trot is a race Miller has her eye on.

“It’s a race that’s on my bucket list. I’d sure like to add it to my resume,” she said. “We love racing at Yonkers. I think they have a great program over there. I think they do a great job, so we are glad to be a part of Yonkers racing. The half-mile racing, I know a lot of people like to see racing on mile tracks, but I think it’s great. It shows versatility in horses.”

Devious Man (Credit Winner—Miss Garland) leads all 3-year-old trotters in seasonal earnings with $730,367 in the bank. He won the $252,000 Empire Breeders Classic Final at Vernon Downs June 18 and took the $500,000 Beal Final at Pocono July 1. Devious Man also finished second to Walner in the Stanley Dancer Memorial and third in the Zweig behind Yonkers Trot rival Yes Mickey. Andy Miller has driven Devious Man in all of his starts.

“Obviously we’re real happy with him,” Julie said. “He was really good on the New York circuit last year winning the Sire Stakes Final right there at Yonkers. We were hoping he would come back as well as he has and he’s proven to be really nice. He’s consistent and you couldn’t be happier with a horse like him.

“In the Empire Breeders Final, Andy had him in perfect position second-over and pounced on a great trip. He was super that day and for a New York race, that was a nice one to win. In the Beal, he was kind of a longshot over there; he drew the outside. Andy worked out a perfect trip for him.”

Devious Man reached harness racing’s biggest stage when he competed in the Hambletonian at The Meadowlands on Aug, 5. After finishing second in his elimination, Devious Man was third in the final after closing with a :27.2 final quarter, but was placed second after What The Hill, who crossed the wire first, was disqualified. As the result is under appeal, Miller is left in an awkward spot in the middle of it all.

“I don’t know if he was second or third in the Hambletonian yet,” she said with a laugh. “I was happy with his effort in the Hambletonian. To go two trips and race the best he could, I’m really, really proud of him.

“My horse’s number wasn’t blinking that day. I finished third and if the judges felt an infraction was made by the winner, that’s their decision and that’s why they’re in the judges’ booth and I’m in the paddock working. My horse raced great. The horse and Andy did a great job that day.”

Devious Man will start from post five in his elimination tonight, just outside of 2-1 second choice Yes Mickey, who enters off a victory in the Zweig. Hambletonian finalist Enterprise is 3-1 from the pylons. Miller is confident in Devious Man Saturday night.

“My horse can maneuver on the half-mile track and he’s liked Yonkers in the past, so I’m very excited for the eliminations and the final,” she said.

In the second elimination, Julie will start Money Macintosh and Top Flight Angel. Money Macintosh is one-for-seven this year. His only win came in a leg of the New York Sire Stakes at Monticello July 17. Since then, the son of Credit Winner—Apple Plush made a break in a Sire Stakes leg at Yonkers Aug. 3 and went off stride again in Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs Aug. 11. Julie got a clean line on Money Macintosh last time out in the Zweig when Jason Bartlett piloted him to an eighth place finish in 1:53.3.

“Money Macintosh, he can go around a half. If he minds his manners, I think he can be right there,” she said. “I’ve been going back to the drawing board after his last couple starts when he did go off stride. Jason said in the Zweig, he was solid. He kept him flat and that was a nice race going into the Yonkers Trot. I just keep making modifications and adjustments on him to kind of get him over getting a little shaky at the wire.”

Top Flight Angel is two-for-seven this year and both victories came at the Hilltop Oval. The colt by Archangel—Top Photo won a $22,000 overnight by 5 1/4 lengths May 16 and took a New York Sire Stakes leg by 5 3/4 lengths in 1:55 Aug. 3.

“He won at Yonkers pretty dominantly in New York Sire Stakes. He seems to travel that track well,” Miller said. “It’s a great booster in your confidence. I picked up Brian Sears, which doesn’t hurt anything. We’ll see what happens that night.”

Tonight’s Yonkers card also features a single elimination of the Messenger for 3-year-old pacers in race 9 and a $50,000 open handicap pace in race 8. First post time is 7:10 p.m.