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Miller's Rookies Ready To Rumble

Published: October 15, 2015 7:19 pm ET

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Julie Miller does not have morning line favorites in Friday’s Breeders Crown eliminations for two-year-old male and female trotters at Woodbine Racetrack, but the trainer is happy with the way her Milligans School and Womans Will are heading into their respective events.

Milligans School has won five of 11 races this year and is coming off victories in divisions of the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes at the recently-concluded Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile in Lexington. He is the 6-1 second choice on the morning line behind 2-5 favourite Southwind Frank in the single elimination for the $600,000 Breeders Crown for two-year-old male trotters.

A son of Yankee Glide out of the mare Tori Ann, Milligans School has earned $159,094 for Russia-based owner Natalia Stroy’s Stroy Inc.

Womans Will has won four of nine races and earned $216,381 for breeders/owners Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz. She has hit the board a total of eight times and heads to Toronto’s Woodbine off second-place finishes in the Kentucky Stallion Management Stakes at Hoosier Park and a division of the International Stallion. She finished third in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship.

A daughter of Breeders Crown winner Donato Hanover out of the mare Will Of A Woman, she is 8-1 on the morning line in the first of two Breeders Crown eliminations for two-year-old female trotters. Undefeated Broadway Donna is the 2-1 favourite, followed by stakes-winners Haughty (5-2) and Celebrity Eventsy (3-1).

Andy Miller, Julie’s husband, will drive Milligans School and Womans Will.

“They both had excellent Lexington meets,” said Julie Miller, who has won one Breeders Crown title in her career. “They’re healthy, they’re happy, they’re doing their jobs. I’m really optimistic. I’m pretty excited about them.”

The Breeders Crown for two-year-old male trotters attracted 12 horses, resulting in a single elimination from which the top eight finishers will join Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Lagerfeld and Ontario Sire Stakes champion Tony Soprano in the final. The connections of those horses accepted byes to the final based on seasonal earnings.

Southwind Frank, trained by Ron Burke, brings an eight-race win streak to the elimination. He is coming off a world-record 1:52.2 performance in his division of the International Stallion Stakes and earlier this year won the William Wellwood Memorial and Peter Haughton Memorial stakes. He is the season’s top money-winning two-year-old male trotter, but his connections, led by co-owner/trainer Ron Burke, turned down the bye and will race in the elim.

“Burke has a standout in there, but we’re going there to do our best too,” Miller said. “I’m happy with (Milligans School) coming off two wins at Lexington. Andy said he was good down there and he seemed strong. Those are two good races under his belt. I’m pretty confident he should be a major contender in there.

“He’s been pretty steady and pretty honest. He’s a smart colt and I think he’ll be OK. He’s just a nice horse. He’s a pleasure to be around. He does everything you ask. Andy can spin him out of there, he can duck him; he’s handy and he’s honest and that goes a long way with a trotter.”

Milligans School was bred by Richard and Joyce McClelland, who also bred two-time Breeders Crown winner Call For Rain.

Womans Will’s family includes 1991 Breeders Crown champion King Conch and 1985 Hambletonian Oaks winner Conch. Libfeld has bred three Breeders Crown champions, including one with Katz -- Martiniontherocks.

“She’s been a model of consistency,” Miller said about Womans Will. “I have nothing but good things to say about her because she’s always right there. I have high hopes for her. It’s going to depend how the race shakes out, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she’s right there.

“There are about five or six good two-year-old trotting fillies,” she added. “They’re just powerhouses. For the boys, beside Southwind Frank, there’s not really a dominant one in my opinion.”

Breeders Crown elimination winners draw for inside post positions 1-5 for their respective finals. All two-year-old finals will go for $600,000 on Oct. 24 at Woodbine.

Post time is 7:25 p.m. for Friday’s first race at Woodbine.

On Saturday, Woodbine will host Breeders Crown eliminations for the Open Pace, three-year-old colt pace, and three-year-old filly pace. The top five finishers from each elimination return for their respective final. Saturday's post time is 7:25 p.m. and once again the elimination winners draw for inside post positions 1-5 for the finals.

Follow Breeders Crown news and updates on Twitter @Breeders_Crown, using #BreedersCrown15 and on Facebook at Fans can also go to, the Place for Harness Racing Fans to See, Share, Connect and Play.

(Breeders Crown)

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