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It's Official: Marcus Is Gone (03/23/13)

Posted Saturday March 23, 2013

                                                     By Mike Paradise

  Since our circuit’s top young driver had one step out the door since early February it wasn’t a surprise to learn that Marcus Miller now has placed both feet out of Illinois.

  “It’s been awesome driving out east and I’ve decided that now is the time to relocate to Pennsylvania,” revealed Marcus.

  “This isn’t something I planned. I came out here to drive some of my dad’s horses (trainer Erv Miller) and get some others qualified for him and it’s just mushroomed since. I’ve been picking up more and more catch drives at places and I’m doing well.

  “People back in Illinois have always asked me about my plans and I’ve always told them I didn’t have any,” said Marcus. “When I felt it was right time to make a move I would but I just didn’t know if and when it would happen.”

 Well it’s happen.

 Miller has been competing at east coast tracks for since February but had been expected to return to Illinois where he was the circuit’s leading driver in 2011 and the runner-up to veteran Mike Oosting last year.

 ”Every night out here is a learning experience for me,” continued the personable and talented 23-year-old. “Different tracks, different horses, different drivers. I know it’s not going to be easy but competing against the very best is something every driver wants to do and this looks to me to be right time to give it a try.”

  Marcus began driving full time on our circuit in 2009 and quickly rose to be among the leaders at both Balmoral and Maywood Parks. He won 242 races that year while horses he drove earned over $1.7 million.

  In 2010 his win total climbed to 393 and money won to $2.3 million. In 2011 Miller finished seventh nationally with 501 winners and his purse earnings grew to $3 million.

Last year he had another 435 winning drives and a career best of $3,147,565 in money won.

  Thus far in 2013 he’s produced 39 first place finishes against many of the nation’s elite drivers at the Meadowlands and Freehold in New Jersey and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

  Sadly, some of those “elite drivers” Marcus will be competing against all left the Chicago circuit for “greener” racetracks.

  That list is long but distinguished: Tim Tetrick, Tony Morgan, Andy Miller, Eric Ledford, Brandon Simpson, Brent Holland, Pat Berry, Ryan Anderson (who did return), Dan Noble, Jason Dillander, Tyler Buter and Eric Goodell.

  Then there were the stables that left like Erv Miller, Joe Anderson, John Butenschoen, Ken Rucker, Paul Blumenfeld, and Rick Dane Jr., just to mention just a few.

  What kind of a Saturday night handles would we have at Balmoral if those drivers and trainers were still in Illinois?

   Later this summer we might Marcus return to his home state to drive for a brief time.

 “I’d like to come back to Illinois for the State Fair meetings in August,” said Miller who grew up a couple of miles from the Springfield Fair Grounds in Sherman.

 However, his move sure looks permanent because he and his fiancée Sarah have been house-hunting.

  “We’re looking to buy a home in Pennsylvania that’s an hour or so drive to Pocono (Downs) and my dad’s farm (Win Cap) and the New Jersey tracks,” said Marcus Miller who also let us in on his future wedding plans.

  “We’ve decided on a February (2014) date to get married It’ll probably be in Florida though because Sara doesn’t want a wedding in cold weather,” he said laughing.

  Good luck to the young couple and stay warm.

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