Trainer Peter Miller won what he believes to be his first race ever at Gulfstream Park, and you can take a guess—just one guess—at what type of race it was.
If you said a turf sprint stakes, congratulations, Captain Obvious.
The master of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1T) brought his talents to South Beach Jan. 25 on Pegasus World Cup Day and wasted little time securing a trip to the winner's circle as Texas Wedge rallied in the stretch to post a neck victory in the $150,000 World of Trouble Turf Sprint Stakes Presented by Hill 'n' Dale Farms, a five-furlong test on the turf.
"It was a great ride by (jockey Flavien Prat), a great trip. He ran a big race. He's a great little gelding bought for $30,000 at (the 2017 Ocala Breeders' Sales March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale) and I couldn't be prouder of the horse and the whole team," Miller said about Texas Wedge, who is owned by Altamira Racing Stable, Rafter JR Ranch, STD Racing Stable, and A. Miller.
Success in turf sprints seems to follow Miller wherever he goes. He has won the Turf Sprint the past three years and finished 1-2 in 2019 with the since-retired Belvoir Bay and Om . Considering how Texas Wedge, a 5-year-old Colonel John gelding, followed a win in the Joe Hernandez Stakes (G2T) with his score in the World of Trouble, Miller is hopeful of adding another chapter to his fabulous success story at the World Championships.
"I think he's really getting better. He's lightly raced, so we're hopeful he can be a Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint horse. It would be nice to go for four in a row," Miller said. "I wish I knew what went into my success. We've had some good horses, and evidently we have a knack for it, and I'm fortunate I have a group of good owners who send me good horses and a great team behind me, and the rest has fallen in place."
Miller said he might send Texas Wedge abroad to run in the $2 million Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored by Azizi Developments (G1) at Meydan in Dubai. That's the same race in which Belvoir Bay and two-time Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal finished second and third last year and Stormy Liberal placed second in 2018.
"We'll consider Dubai, but I will have to get with my partners and make a decision," Miller said.
Texas Wedge, who paid $11.80 on a $2 win wager, was fifth in a field of eight Saturday while saving ground along the rail as the 10-year-old Pay Any Price covered the opening quarter-mile in :21.68 with Carotari second. As Pay Any Price retreated to sixth, Texas Wedge was angled out by Prat entering the stretch, collaring Carotari in the final strides.
Bred in Kentucky by Nancy Shuford out of the Political Force mare Callmenancy, Texas Wedge was timed in :55.84 on firm turf in winning for the sixth time in 14 starts and raising his earnings to $403,740.
Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, and Bethlehem Stables' Shekky Shebaz, who was third behind Miller's horses in the Turf Sprint, was fourth for trainer Jason Servis as the 1-2 favorite. Ironically, for connections who owned multiple grade 1 winner World of Trouble , their Cape Blanco gelding ran into a world of trouble.
"He was steadied on the turn and steadied before the wire," Servis said. "Probably five-eighths is not his best distance, but he kept trying."