Peter Miller Taking 'Temporary Hiatus' From Training

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Peter MillerHorsephotos

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When Nov. 29 rolls around, trainer Peter Miller, one of the most numerically powerful stables on the Southern California circuit, will embark upon a temporary hiatus from training to spend “more time with his family, focus on overall health and wellness, and pursue other interests,” according to press release issued Thursday evening.

While Miller's assistant, Ruben Alvarado, is expected to take over the everyday running of the barn, Miller will take on an advisory position and maintain his role as an owner, the release states.

“I have been working virtually every day on the backstretch of a racetrack since the day after I graduated from high school in 1984. 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,” Miller wrote in his press release.

Miller continued: “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.”

Miller told the TDN that he's currently unsure of how long the hiatus may last.

“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. 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,” he wrote.

For the past three years–and in light of the 2019 Santa Anita welfare crisis–the state's regulatory agency has markedly tightened the rules surrounding equine safety, placing an emphasis on the role of trainer responsibility.

As such, speculation had been mounting for some time that Miller has been the target of increased regulatory scrutiny due to five horses in his care suffering catastrophic injuries during 2021–the highest number of any single trainer in California this year.

“Of the 72 [equine] fatalities during the past fiscal years, all but 14 were one-off events for trainers. Of those 14 trainers, 12 had two [fatalities], one had three, and one had four,” said California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) executive director, Scott Chaney, during an October Medication, Safety, and Welfare Committee meeting, when explaining a proposal to potentially penalize trainers for multiple equine fatalities.

The CHRB has also issued Miller three Class 4 medication violations this current calendar year.

Miller addressed these rumors in the press release, stating that his decision has not been triggered by any outside regulatory pressure. Miller wrote, “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.

“My love for horses lured me to the racetrack as a teenager and held me there for the next 38 years. I trust that it will bring me back after this hiatus.”

The TDN asked the CHRB for comment, and they did not respond in time for publication of this story. The Stronach Group replied that they had nothing to add as of right now.

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