By Tara Ellen Taylor
Brackton Miller is a reserved young man much like his grandfather, Al Miller. They both live in Middlebury, Ind. and have a close-knit family which includes (parents) Ryan and Angie, (brothers) Ty and Cole and (grandmother) Deb as well as (aunt) Yvonne, (uncle) Ron, and (cousins) Taylor and Braden Eash. They enjoy spending quality time together – going out to dinner, attending the sports events of all family members…and going to the horse races!
When 13-year-old Brackton showed a sustaining interest in the horses, Al set out to find a reliable Trottingbred for his grandson to learn from and to race. Luck Of The Sun was safe enough but they quickly learned he wasn’t very fast on the track. For a few years, they dabbled in the northern Indiana pony racing circuit, until one day, the elder told the younger: “I’m spending the same amount of money on feed and shoeing a little horse as I would for a Standardbred but racing for a lot smaller purses. What do you say we try to find a nice big one that has a chance to make some money?” Brackton agreed.
So in the fall of 2017, Al went shopping and again not too far from home. He found an unraced two year old filly that hadn’t made it to the races but had shown potential in her early training. Al took Brackton back to Dojea Stables to inspect the Guccio – She’s Too Vain lass.
“I liked her sire,” said Brackton. “Dan Shetler raced her mother who was a decent horse,” said Al. So the grandfather/grandson Standardbred venture began.
The first couple of months after the purchase, Al jogged the now renamed “She’s Too Gucci” with Brackton helping when he had time off from school activities. The decision was made to send the filly to Dave White, longtime friend and experienced trotting trainer based at the Indiana State Fairgrounds to get her prepped for a hopeful early start this spring at Hoosier Park.
“Even years ago when I had Whole Lotta Speed for Al, I could see Brackton was interested. He didn’t say much but you could tell he was taking it all in when they came to visit the barn,” explained Dave. “The Miller family is made of what this business and society needs more of so I’m hoping this all works out for them.”
“I learned from racing ponies that you can’t win every time,” Brackton remembers. “I think that is an important lesson even when I play basketball.” (By several accounts it appears Brackton is quite talented as a 6’ 2” incoming junior this coming fall at Elkhart Memorial High School – so much so that the college scouts have already visited some of his games.)
“He’s hard on himself both in driving and in sports but I encourage him to hang in there. He seems to have a good set of hands, too” added Al.
When asked his preference of trotters versus pacers, Brackton never hesitated. “Pacers – they go faster and it’s more of a rush. I like the competition of racing both when I watch and drive.”
As grandfathers do, Al balances the impatience of youth.
“I think he is surprised by how much time it takes, both on a daily and long-term basis, to develop and condition a race horse. I want him to have a good time and have fun but still learn some valuable life lessons in this process.”
Thus far in her career, She’s Too Gucci has a handful of starts and is learning each week. She is right on track and has been racing at Hoosier Park this spring with Don Harmon in the bike. She picked up a couple of second place finishes at press time and has trotted right around 1:58.0 several times. She’s staked to the fairs with an eye on the Indiana Sires Stakes if she keeps improving.
When she races, one aspect is certain. Al and Brackton will head to the track, along with family, to cheer her on.