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Miller On His “Quirky” Speedster

Published: September 12, 2014 1:29 pm ET

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'Unlocked' seems an appropriate name for the Erv Miller-trained sophomore son of Duneside Perch.

The powerful bay colt has simply obliterated his rivals in his last four starts, beginning with his 1:50.2 victory in the $48,000 Incredible Finale Stake at Balmoral Park on July 26. He then roasted a field of eight rivals on August 14 at Springfield in a lifetime best of 1:49.1 in a $52,000 State Fair Championship, where his nearest competitor was nine and a quarter lengths behind him at the wire.

“I knew he was some kind of nice horse, and from the nine-hole, that Springfield effort was a huge mile,” Miller acknowledged.

Owned by Megan Rogers of Chicago, Unlocked then swept to a 1:51.3 clocking in the $22,000 Dudley Hanover Stake at DuQuoin on August 24 before casually winning his $15,000 Langley elim last week by six and a quarter lengths in 1:50.3 with his regular pilot, Dave Magee, at the lines.

“It really didn’t surprise me at all,” Magee admitted. “This colt is capable of going some really big miles. He’s a lot more comfortable doing his job now. Earlier this year he was high strung, but the last few starts he’s been super. He just needs to stay out of trouble in the final. He’s been so dominate as of late that I expect to be somewhere up close. He never seems to tail off at the end of a mile so post isn’t an issue for him either.”

“He’s a very high speed horse,” Miller stressed. “Nick (trainer Prather) wasn’t able to get the conditioning miles in him over the winter he felt the colt needed, because of the terrible midwest weather, so he sent him out east to us.”

Originally, Unlocked was teamed with trainer Curtis Rice, but when Rogers watched the youngster win his first two starts at Balmoral in 2013, she purchased him from Rice for $50,000 and placed him in Prather’s barn.

The colt won his career debut, a $6,000 ICF stakes event at Balmoral, on June 9, 2013 in 1:56.2, and six days later he drew off by eight lengths in 1:53.3 in a $15,000 ICF test. He won his first and second starts for Prather, the $12,000 Enzo The Baker Stake at Maywood on June 28 in 1:58.2 and the $12,000 Fox Valley Barzgar Stake on July 5 in 1:56.3 with Magee at the lines. Unlocked went on to earn $82,447 as a two-year-old via six wins and five seconds in 12 starts, taking a mark of p,2,1:53.2 in a Springfield elimination.

This year he’s amassed another $104,725 from 13 starts, with a five triumphs and one second. However, Unlocked, who besides being flashy in colour and big-strided, is quirky at times, Miller and Magee agreed.

“He’s the only horse I’ve ever had that will run out bad one week and the next week run in,” Miller noted. “We don’t change his rigging at all, but he’ll be on the left line one week and on the right the next, for no apparent reason.”

“Unlocked is very sound, but quirky,” Magee agreed. “At Springfield, he wasn’t into the race at all and leaving from the far outside, he was watching the crowd and wasn’t attentive to me. Despite that, he still went a huge mile.

Bred by Bart Seals of Mason, IL, Unlocked is the sixth foal out of the Fighting Major mare Miss Major Power p, 3, 1:51.1M ($27,453) and has half-siblings in: Bad As Bart (by Sportsmaster) p,4,1:54H ($98,699); Destinationunknown (by Ice Chaser Won) p, 2, 1:54.4 ($32,193); and Partyatbartsplace (by Party At Artsplace) p,4, 1:53.3F ($60,031).

“Unlocked is a horse who is actually one of the easier ones for me to manage,” Miller offered. “He’s got so much speed that he is easy to keep sharp, because he is so naturally talented.”

(Balmoral Park)

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