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MacKenzie Miller

MacKenzie Miller
Induction Year: 
1987

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Bio

MacKenzie T. “Mack” Miller born Oct. 16, 1921 in Versailles, Ky. Known as the “Gentleman Trainer,” during a 46-year career, Miller conditioned 72 stakes winners, including four champions. He also enjoyed success as an owner.

Miller grew up about 12 miles from the Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., where as a teen he attended its first race meet in 1936. After dropping out of college and spending time in the United States Air Force, in 1947 he went to work as a stable hand for Calumet Farm. Miller became involved with the race conditioning of horses, and in 1949 took out his own training license. He won his first race in 1950.

     Miller was also a breeder of Thoroughbreds, and was the co-breeder of De La Rose, the 1981 Champion Female Turf Horse, as well as Chilukki, the 1999 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly.

   During his career, Miller earned a reputation as someone who was patient with difficult horses, which led to him training the 1974 Epsom Derby winner Snow Knight, a purchase of renowned Canadian horseman E. P. Taylor. Miller developed the ill-tempered horse into the 1975 Champion Male Turf Horse. 

   Among other major clients, Miller trained for Charles W. Engelhard, Jr. He was also hired by Paul Mellon to take over training duties for Rokeby Stables. With the widely respected Mellon, he had an 18-year association that brought them both their first Kentucky Derby win in 1993 with the colt Sea Hero. Among their numerous other success, in the fall of 1980, Winter’s Tale won three top races for older horses, taking the Brooklyn and Suburban handicaps, plus the Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap. In 1984, Miller conditioned Mellon’s colt Fit to Fight to victory in the New York Handicap Triple, a feat accomplished just three times in the almost 100 years that the three races existed simultaneously. No horse has won the Handicap Triple since.

      Miller’s notable victories include the Kentucky Derby, Bernard Baruch Handicap (5), United Nations Handicap (5), Long Island Handicap (5), Jerome Handicap (2), Man o’ War Stakes (2), Hopeful Stakes (2), Whitney Handicap (2), Metropolitan Handicap (2), Diana Handicap (4), Suburban Handicap (4), Brooklyn Handicap (2), Manhattan Handicap (2), Travers Stakes (2), and Canadian International Stakes.

    MacKenzie Miller was inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 1987.

Trainer