When harness racing driver David Miller headed from Ohio to the East Coast more than a decade ago, he thought it would be temporary. He was wrong. And it resulted in a permanent place among the sport's all-time greats.
On Sunday, the 49-year-old Miller will be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y.
Miller has won more than 11,000 races in his ongoing career, ranking eighth among all North American drivers in history, and earned $180 million in purses, which is fourth all time.
Also being inducted on Sunday is William Weaver, who bred influential trotting sire Valley Victory as well as several division champions. In addition, longtime U.S. Trotting Association publicity director John Pawlak and retired USTA stakes director Carol Cramer will be enshrined in the Communicators Hall of Fame.
Horses being honored are Donato Hanover, Precious Bunny, Hattie, Green Speed, and Windsong's Legacy.
"It means a lot to me,” Miller said. "The biggest honor you can receive in your profession, I think, is for people to think of you that way. To be put in the Hall of Fame with people that I looked up to, it's very special. I feel privileged. I'm sure it will hit me more once I'm there. I haven't been too focused on it yet.”
Miller was voted Driver of the Year in 2003 when he led North America in purses and guided No Pan Intended to the Pacing Triple Crown. He has won a total of 11 Triple Crown races (combined pacing and trotting) and 14 Breeders Crown trophies.
He is a three-time winner of the Little Brown Jug and one of only two drivers to capture the Little Brown Jug and its filly companion race, the Jugette, in the same year. He has won at least $10 million in purses 12 times, the most of any driver in history, and trails only Hall of Famers John Campbell, Ron Pierce and Mike Lachance in career earnings.
Miller was already a star in his native Ohio when he headed to the East Coast in the late 1990s. He captured multiple driving titles at the Meadowlands Racetrack in the early 2000s and has been a force on the Grand Circuit ever since he made the move.
"I came out at a time when things kind of clicked for me,” Miller said. "I was driving a lot of good horses. I didn't plan on it. You can't. I was very fortunate to hook up with as many good trainers that I have over the years.
"Hopefully it's not over yet.”
Miller, who was enshrined in the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2010, shows no signs of slowing down. Last weekend, he won the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial with McWicked in a world-record performance and two weeks earlier captured the $420,900 Fan Hanover Stakes with Uffizi Hanover.
"I've gotten to drive a lot of great horses,” Miller said. "It's more than I thought I would do. The sport has been good to me, that's for sure.” (HRC)