In a story broken by HRTV's Scott Hazelton on his twitter account, local trainer Danny Miller died today. He was sixty-one. A cause of death has not been disclosed as of publish time. Funeral and viewing arrangements have not been disclosed either as of publish time.
Miller trained on the Arlington/Hawthorne circuit, scoring 458 victories from 4,090 starts and career earnings of over $8.9 million dollars according to Equibase. Born in downstate Casey, he came originally to Chicago, according to Arlington Park's media guide, with Bernie Flint in the late 1970s and has remained on the circuit ever since. And like so many trainers, the sport was in his DNA: his father trained on the downstate fair circuit.
He won the G3 Pucker Up Stakes in 2010 with Dade Babe and the 2012 G3 Modesty Handicap with Romacaca, among his graded stakes achievements. Romacaca, who also appeared in the G1 Beverly D. in 2012, was among those owned by Frank C. Calabrese, who Miller trained for as late as last year.
I saw Miller on Hawthorne Gold Cup Day last year, when the aforementioned Romacaca had just scored a facile victory in the $100,000 Indian Maid Handicap. It was a purely professional meeting: me asking him about his turf mare that won at Hawthorne with a turf mare that felt like had been around for years (she was six at the time and I did recall her wins at three). After the victory; I asked, he answered, I scribbled; we parted ways.
He appeared on Gold Cup Day in a shirt and jeans, the sort of outfit better suited for winning some Thursday claiming affair and not the race before a Grade Two. And holding a mare that was a Grade 3 winner, not something you can have for ten grand. Yet, he appeared in that scenario calmly and plainly, showing off his wares.
Perhaps the low profile was out of handling the at-times prickly Calabrese (and the hot-and-cold relationship with Catalano). Or perhaps it was his style, the "hard-working" that came to mind so quickly. He went in, trained, and won you a race or two. Maybe it was a Thursday claiming affair. Or a Grade Three.
And perhaps it's why "hard working" came to mind so quick. And in retrospect, it fits.
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