Sunday, December 12, 2010

Memories of Mack

American racing suffered a great loss on December 10 with the death of Hall of Fame trainer Mack Miller.

Best known as the conditioner of 1993 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Sea Hero, Miller also trained top class runners like Java Gold, Assagai, Hawaii, Halo, Mr. Leader, Tentam, and Fit to Fight. Miller, who was living in retirement in Versailles, Kentucky, suffered a stroke December 5 and passed six days later.

Although Miller had been retired almost ten years before I became involved with Thoroughbreds, I am fortunate to say that I have my own memory of him. While interning with The Blood-Horse earlier this year, I wrote a feature story on the popular horse town of Aiken, South Carolina. Upon learning that I was writing this story, Evan Hammonds (one of my editors) immediately pulled me into his office and suggested I speak with Mack Miller. Miller winter trained in Aiken for many years, and most of his best horses had at one time been stabled at the Aiken Training Track. So I called up the 89-year-old Miller, who spent a good amount of time filling me with information and wonderful stories about his time in Aiken.

While it is not much, this is my memory of Mack. While he finished in racing long before I started, I was fortunate enough to get to speak with him. Our lively conversation will forever serve as a reminder of Mack, and how people from very different generations of the Thoroughbred industry still share common interests and goals.

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