Autumn Escapade favored in Armbro Flight elim
July 14, 2011
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When Autumn Escapade lines up behind the gate for her $50,000 Armbro Flight elimination on Friday evening at Mohawk, David Miller, her driver and owner, will be in the unfamiliar position of observer, watching from the drivers' room at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
A 6-year-old daughter of Victory Sam-Winning Colors K, Autumn Escapade, who'll have Mark MacDonald in the sulky, has returned to top form again in 2011, missing the board just once from six starts, good enough for $95,900 in seasonal earnings.
"She’s just one of those mares that flies under the radar," Miller commented. "She raced against the best aged trotting mares last year and raced terrific."
Last season, the 23-time winner earned $283,190 with four wins for Miller, who co-owns along with his wife, Misty, and trainer Jonas Czernyson.
Purchased at the end of her 3-year-old season, Autumn Escapade has been the model of consistency.
"My wife (Misty) and I purchased her at the end of her sophomore season from my daughter’s (Devan) owners," said Miller, of the lifetime earner of $661,749. "She has been such a consistent horse for us and has matured into a terrific top trotting mare."
Miller doesn’t mind handing other drivers the lines when he’s not available.
"That’s the thing about her, she’s such an easy horse to drive," he said. "She doesn’t pull or give any driver a hard time. She’s a true professional on the track and you can drive her with two fingers."
While Autumn Escapade boasts terrific gate speed, Miller is confident she can race from off the early pace.
"She can race any way you want her to," he noted. "She’s been put on the front lately, but I wouldn’t have any concern to race her off-the-pace."
Installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite, Miller is content in knowing he might be facing Buck I St. Pat once again in the $349,000 final on Saturday, July 23.
"We’ve been chasing her around for the last couple of years," he laughed. "This isn’t a first for us and it won’t be the last. In hindsight, it’s actually a great thrill to be racing at the top level with a horse like Buck I St. Pat over the past few years."
Autumn Escapade will look to capture her first Armbro Flight final after finishing second and third, respectively over the past two seasons. She goes to post in the second elimination, carded as race nine. First race post time is 7:10 p.m. (WEG)