When Windsun Galliano won a condition race in early January at the Meadowlands, he gave trainer Julie Miller career win No. 1,000. On Saturday night, the trotter will try to add to Miller’s total with a victory in the $51,000 Super Bowl series final.
Windsun Galliano is one of two Miller-trained trotters in the Super Bowl, which is for four-year-olds. The other is Helios, who himself has added two wins to Miller’s resume this year. Windsun Galliano is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, despite drawing post No. 10, while Helios is 4-1 from post eight. Where To Hanover, who will start from post seven, is the 3-1 morning line favourite.
“We’re really excited for both of them,” said Miller, who entered Thursday with 1,005 wins as a trainer. “Both are not hard on themselves. They’re well-mannered on the racetrack, they’re easy keepers in the barn, they’re really clean-going trotters. There’s not much more than you can ask of horses.
“I think I have a strong entry, but there are a lot of nice horses in there. It should make for a great race.”
Saturday’s card also features the $103,500 Presidential series final for older male pacers and the $67,400 Clyde Hirt series final for four-year-old male pacers.
Windsun Galliano was winless in five starts last year, but has two victories in three races this season. He went off stride in his first-round start in the Super Bowl series, but then won his second-round division by a half-length over Where To Hanover in 1:54.2.
Andy Miller, Julie’s husband, will drive Windsun Galliano in the final.
“That first start we were really kind of upset; he kind of tipped over at the start,” said Miller, who trains the gelding for owners Tracy Brainard, James Harper, Jr. and Elizabeth Harper. “He’s a little bit harder to drive, so Andy’s got to be a little more cautious with him, but there’s no end to his tank. Hopefully he’ll be good to go.”
Helios has won six of eight career starts and finished second once. He won his first-round division of the Super Bowl by one length over No Less Than Magic in 1:55.3 and finished second in his second-round split, beaten by a neck by Wisenheimer in 1:54.3.
“He was really strong,” Miller said. “He’s an honest trotter. You can really just throw the lines at him and go.”
Andy Miller drove Helios in his previous starts this year, but will turn over the lines to Yannick Gingras.
Helios, also a gelding, raced primarily in New York last year, for trainer Jessica Okusko. He is owned by Meadowlands President Jeff Gural.
“You’d think there would be more pressure, but Jeff is a great owner and we’re lucky to have him,” Miller said. “We’re just hoping that both horses do well.”
As for plans for the two horses beyond the Super Bowl series, Miller was hesitant to look ahead.
“You know me, I’m not putting the cart before the horse,” Miller said. “I’d like to just get through this series, make sure they come out of it OK. It’s still early in the season; there’s a lot of racing to be doing. Hopefully we’ll pick some spots and make some money for the owners.”
This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit www.ustrotting.com.