Devious Man back at Hoosier for Erskine Trot
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Devious Man missed his opportunity to race in last weekend's Breeders Crown championship for 3-year-old colt trotters at Hoosier Park, but the colt returns to the Anderson, Ind., track for Saturday's $235,000 Carl Erskine Trot.
The Erskine's 10-horse field includes the three best finishers from the Breeders Crown—winner What The Hill, runner-up Lindy The Great, and International Moni. Two other Crown finalists, Dover Dan and Top Flight Angel, are also in the field.
Devious Man, the richest 3-year-old male trotter of the season with $921,219 in purses, finished sixth in his Breeders Crown elimination Oct. 21 and failed to advance to the final. It was only the second time he finished off the board this year.
"He got caught too far back and they trotted slow fractions," said Andy Miller, who drives Devious Man for his wife, trainer Julie Miller. "Off of slow fractions on that track it's hard to make up a lot of ground. I was disappointed."
Devious Man, who adds Lasix for the Erskine, has won four of 15 races and finished second on six occasions. His wins include the Beal Memorial and Empire Breeders Classic while his runner-up finishes include the Hambletonian (third-placed-second), the Kentucky Futurity, and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. He was third in the Yonkers Trot and Zweig Memorial.
"He's showed up all year other than the Breeders Crown," Miller said. "You can't map out a much bigger year. It would have been nice to win a couple of those, but he's put up some great numbers. We've got two more races left (Erskine and Matron) so hopefully we can do something in those two."
Miller and Devious Man will start from post 7 in the Erskine.
"I wish he had drawn a little better, but I think he will put in a good effort," Miller said.
Top Flight Angel, also from Team Miller, will start the Erskine from post 8. The colt went offstride in the Breeders Crown final and finished last.
"He bumped a knee coming off the last turn," Miller said. "He was sitting in a great spot. He was sitting on the rail with a lot of trot. I hadn't even pulled the earplugs yet. I was very optimistic about his chances. It was disappointing. I think he will be fine this week and put in a good effort."
Breeders Crown champion What The Hill has won three of his last four races and eight of 15 starts for the year. He has earned $758,776. His other victories include the Canadian Trotting Classic, the Reynolds Memorial and an elimination of the Kentucky Futurity.
He was first-placed-ninth in the Hambletonian and second in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. He finished third in the New Jersey Sires Stakes final.
David Miller will drive What The Hill, who starts the Erskine from post 1, for trainer Ron Burke.
"I have been with the horse for a couple years now and we had a little bit of hard luck with him early this summer," Miller said last weekend in the Breeders Crown winner's circle. "I told them all, ‘I hope I can make it up for you.' This helps."
What The Hill will try to become the second Breeders Crown winner to capture the Erskine, joining last year's champion Bar Hopping. Burke won the 2015 Erskine with Crazy Wow. (Ken Weingartner/HRC)