Trainer Peter Miller, a five-time Breeders’ Cup winner and one of the leading California-based conditioners, announced via a release on Nov. 18 plans to take a temporary hiatus from training effective Nov. 29.
“I have been working virtually every day on the backstretch of a racetrack since the day after I graduated from high school in 1984,” Miller said in the release, in which he also stated his desire to spend more time with family and pursue other interests. “On that day, I was lucky enough to be hired by the great Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham. I am and forever will be grateful for all that he taught me.
“Throughout my career I have derived great joy in the pursuit of my passion as a trainer. Managing a large stable is a 24-hour, 365-day a year endeavor. The effort to compete at the highest level of my profession has taken its toll on my family and my health and I believe this decision is best for me, my family and our future.
“I know that there may be some speculation related to this decision; however, I want to make it very clear that it is not a result of any regulatory action, secret agreement or hidden agenda of any kind. This is strictly a personal decision.”
Miller has won 1,332 races from 7,119 starters since 1987 and enjoyed his greatest success over the last ten years. He saddled Roy H and Stormy Liberal to consecutive victories in the 2017 and 2018 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), respectively, with the former earning the Eclipse Award for champion male sprinter in each of those seasons and Stormy Liberal taking champion turf male honors in 2018.
Miller captured the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint for a third straight season when he sent out the mare Belvoir Bay (GB) to victory less than two years after she survived the Lilac fire that decimated San Luis Rey Downs.
“I am grateful to all of my clients and my talented hard-working team. I am completely indebted to them for the successes we have shared,” Miller said in the release. “My extremely capable and long-time assistant Ruben Alvarado will be taking the reins and I will continue to act as an advisor/racing manager to my owners and my assistants as well as staying involved as an owner myself.”
Miller’s successes have been set against controversy, however. According to the California Horse Racing Board, he has had three medication positives this year including being fined $1,500 after multiple graded stakes winner Mo Forza testing positive for a phenylbutazone overage after working at San Luis Rey Downs June 19.
Mo Forza most recently finished 13th in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Del Mar on Nov. 6.