Horse Racing

WHAT THEY SAY: Leo Miller - RACEHORSE JOCKEY

Friday, September 15, 2017

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When did you start your career as a jockey?

I was coming to the track from as early as 1983. I came to the track with my weight and height exactly as what a jockey should be, but at the time I did not have any connections. I had a friend who knew a trainer by the name of Charles Daley, but he did not have many horses. He then introduced me to trainer Sydney Watson and I remained with Watson until the 1990s when things started to get bad, so I was in and out. I lived in Washington Gardens (St Andrew) but my father got a house in Westchester, Portmore in 1993, and that was when I started to come back to the track on a regular basis. During that time Joe Buchanan, Winston Thompson and Joel Fogo were trying to become jockeys, but I was the bug boy who carried the horses down on the track. 1996 came up and I got through for entry into the Jockeys' School after first applying in 1986.

Which horse was your first winner?

Well, from 1996 my career kicked off. I was the first apprentice from that batch to ride a winner. I won aboard Manbut for the late trainer Clayton Elliott. The second race that I won was for trainer Andrew Nunes. Two years later, I ran fourth in the jockeys' championship. In 1998, I went to ride in Trinidad and Tobago and kept moving back and forth.

Which horse was your longest-odds winner?

I have two, Everbless and Elegant Lady. They both won at odds of 99-1 and they paid over $4,000 to win. It may be more than 99-1 as the tote board can only show up to 99-1. Whenever I win races, I am a very happy man. In my career, I won over 240 races and I am very grateful for each one.

Which is the best horse you have ridden?

The best horse that I have ridden in my career so far was a horse by the name of Special Clearance, trained by Robert Darby. As the name Special Clearance indicates, the horse was clearly special.

Which is the best horse you have seen race at Caymanas Park?

That is a tough question. Since I am involved in the sport of horse racing, I have seen so many good horses that have demonstrated their superiority, class and talent, but eventually I have to pick one. I will say that Miracle Man is the best for me. He was a very good horse with a lot of heart; he was a genuine fighter. He even went abroad and won a Classic race, which was very outstanding, not only for him but for racing here at Caymanas Park.

Who influenced your career most?

That has to be my brother Anthony Miller. He thought that I was a good jockey and said I should always strive to be a champion jockey. Getting to the top of your chosen profession should be your ultimate aim, he would counsel. Irrespective of how difficult it may seem at times, he would advise that I should never become idle… always find something worthwhile to engage your time and attention. Today his encouragement has helped me throughout my struggling times. There are others who give encouragement, but Tony is like blood through my veins.

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