06/06/2017 12:36PM

Harness: A new Miller makes his debut in the bike

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Ken Weingartner/USTA
T.J. Miller on the track at Gaitway farm with dad Andy Miller looking on in the background.

After getting his feet wet with a third-place finish in his first-ever drive in a qualifier, Tyler “T.J.” Miller made his next trip around the track at Gaitway Farms a winning one.

Miller, the 19-year-old son of trainer Julie Miller and driver Andy Miller, guided Nick Surick’s 8-year-old pacer Twincreeks Jack to victory by a nose over New Zealand-bred Super Imposed in 1:53 during Monday’s qualifiers at Gaitway. Super Imposed was driven by Andy Miller.

“I knew it was close, but I thought I sneaked it out from him,” said Tyler Miller, who wore his father’s familiar orange, white, and black driving colors. “It was exciting when we passed three-quarters and were coming down the stretch. It was a good way to end the day.”

Earlier in the day Miller drove 2-year-old trotter Im Your Captain to a third-place finish. The colt was timed in 2:00.

“I trained him over the winter when I was off from school and I’ve been training him down since I got back from school,” said Miller, who recently completed his freshman year at Rider University. “I’ve been going with him a lot and kind of knew the horse.”

Miller admitted to having butterflies before getting on the track for the first time.

“I was pretty nervous beforehand, but once I got behind the gate it was like normal,” Miller said. “(My dad) told me it was just like another training mile. It was fun. It was a nice experience.”

Dad was happy with his son’s debut.

“He did good,” Andy Miller said. “I told him to relax out there and he did. He was nice and quiet and the horse behaved good. He did a good job.”

Tyler Miller is uncertain of his future on the racetrack, at least when it comes to being a fulltime driver. His first priority is getting his degree at Rider, where he is majoring in business.

“I’ll finish school first and see where it takes me,” Miller said. “I’ll just have to see how it goes.”

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit www.ustrotting.com