In August, driver David Miller won his first Hambletonian Oaks with Personal Style. On Sunday, she helped Miller to another memorable moment by winning the $149,400 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old filly trotters at Dover Downs, pushing Miller's seasonal earnings beyond $10 million.
The purse earnings from the Matron victory extended Miller's own record for most $10-million seasons in harness racing history to 11. He also joined Ron Pierce and Brian Sears as the only drivers to post $10-million campaigns over eight consecutive years.
"I was hoping I wasn't done,” the 47-year-old Miller said, laughing. "I'm very happy it turned out that way again. I think it's great.”
With $10.18 million in earnings this year, Miller ranks No. 3 among all drivers in North America. Tim Tetrick, with $17.79 million, leads the way, followed by Yannick Gingras, at $12.78 million.
Miller ranks fourth in history, with $164 million, trailing only John Campbell, Pierce and Mike Lachance. Campbell is No. 2 on the list for most $10-million seasons, with nine.
Personal Style got her first win since capturing the Hambletonian Oaks on Aug. 4 at the Meadowlands. She won the Matron by 2-1/4 lengths over favorite Win Missy B in a stakes-record 1:53.2.
Win Missy B, starting from post six in the eight-horse field, went to the lead in a :55.4 opening half-mile. Miller and Personal Style, who started from post one, raced second over around the second turn before moving alongside Win Missy B with a three-wide move on the backstretch. Personal Style grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch on her way to her fourth win in 19 starts this year for trainer Nifty Norman and owners Mel Hartman and Brittany Farms.
"I was real happy with her,” Miller said. "She hasn't won that many this year, but she was very good (finishing second) in the Matron elimination and I told Nifty if we could just draw inside (Win Missy B) it would be good. All I needed was for that mare to get pushed a little to the half and I thought I could beat them.
"It worked out real good. She was very sharp. I thought she was my best shot to win.”
In addition to winning with Personal Style, Miller won the $165,975 Matron Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers with Twilight Bonfire, finished second in the Matron for 2-year-old male trotters with Sand Royal Blu, third in the Matron for 2-year-old filly pacers with UF Dragon's Queen, and finished third in the Progress Pace with Bettor's Edge.
"Going into the night, I thought I would have a good night,” Miller said. "I didn't know if I was going to win any, but I thought I had some pretty good horses to drive. I thought things could go real well. I got lucky with the draws and a lot of them raced good.” (Harness Racing Communications)