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Walter Miller

Walter Miller
Induction Year: 
1955
Number of Mounts: 
4,336
Number of Winners: 
1,094
Winning Percentage: 
25.20%

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Bio

   Walter Miller was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1890 and rode in his first Thoroughbred race at age 14. Five years later, at the ripe old age of 19, his riding career in America was finished because he became too big. But what Miller accomplished in a short time is remarkable. Mentored by Hall of Fame jockey Jimmy McLaughlin and Hall of Fame trainer “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons, Miller quickly showed a rare talent in the irons.

   In an era when most jockeys seldom went to the post 500 times in a year, Miller had 178 winners in 888 mounts in 1905. In 1906, Miller booted home 388 winners in 1,384 races and had outstanding years in 1907 (334-for-1,194) and 1908 (194-for-870). He led the nation in wins in 1906 and 1907. More than half of Miller’s career mounts finished in the money.

   Miller enjoyed his greatest success under the colors of the James R. Keene and Newcastle Stables. Among the horses he rode were Colin, Ballot and Peter Pan. Miller rode the undefeated Colin to 11 of his 15 career victories.

   In 1906, Miller won the Preakness Stakes on Whimsical and his 388 wins that year stood as a record for 46 years until broken by Bill Shoemaker in 1952. Miller’s remarkable campaign is even more impressive considering race meets were much shorter during those times and cards held fewer races.

   Along with his victory in the Preakness, Miller also won the Travers Stakes, Alabama, Champagne, Saratoga Special and Brooklyn Handicap.

   Miller’s American career was cut short by a sudden weight increase in his late teens, followed by a series of fines and suspensions for rough riding. He chose to move his tack to Europe where he rode with considerable success. His overseas patrons included the German Kaiser and Baron Oppenheim.

   Walter Miller was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1955.

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