|Kip Yates' photo of Milliron Pete at the 2013 Pickaway County Fair|
Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010
Batavia, NY—Milliron Pete made his local harness racing debut for new connections last week after 19 days off and experienced an off-track and road trouble for his effort. But the Northfield Park invader more than made up for that outing on Saturday night (Aug. 27) when he won the $10,000 Open pacing feature at Batavia Downs in convincing fashion.
Sometime last year, I had the great opportunity to connect with Kip Yates. Kip is the proprietor of Yates Cabling, Hilliard, Ohio. In his spare time, he trains award-winning harness racers, including the acclaimed Milliron Pete. Kip was excited to share his story of meeting Milliron Pete for the first time…
I met Milliron Pete at the Hilliard Fairgrounds in 2012. Down the aisle Jason Borowski, a driver/trainer at the fairgrounds, had a nice horse he wanted to sell. The horse had been bred by Larry Hines and Doug Parker. We were sorry to learn that Doug passed away, and Jason became the new owner. Jason came over one night to our side of the barn and said he would take $1,000 for the horse. I looked at my partner at the time and laughed, “Give him the $1,000.” The horse’s name was Milliron Pete. I asked Jason how the horse got his name and he said, “My partner, Larry Hines, is very good friends with Dr. Pete Smith, a renowned veterinarian in Athens County. Larry named the horse Milliron Pete after Dr. Smith.”
The very first night I took Pete out to the track, he walked up the track to the top of the hill, spun around and brought me back down. I thought what have I gotten myself into with this horse? It was December of 2012 and I was going through a tough time in my life and I needed something to get me through; Pete needed something, too. His life wasn’t looking good. He was having difficulty finding his footing, so we settled in and I took my time with him. Finally, he started coming along about March. It seemed Pete never got tired, and he was fast - very fast.
Pete was a Kentucky breed horse, but I couldn’t race him in Kentucky because they hadn’t kept the payments up on him, so I had to race him in Ohio. In June of 2013, I took Pete to Circleville. The very first time I raced him there, he won, and he kept winning. Jason and Larry has a horse that I helped Jason train, her name is Come Along Sadie [an Athens County Fair winner]. She raced at Circleville that day. There were three horses in the race and she finished third. Pete was in the last race of the day. I raced Pete and won. After the race, I gave Pete a bath and walked him to cool him down. Larry was standing nearby and he looked at Jason and I overheard him say, “I think you sold the wrong horse.” I just kept walking.
At the end of 2013, I took Pete to Miami Valley to race. The very first night I raced him he won. At the old Lebanon Raceway, they called him Millie Ron. The next week I took Pete to Lebanon, I walked into the judge’s office and said, “Can you get me in touch with the announcer?” And they sent me to the announcer’s office. I said, “I am the owner of Milliron Pete. The name of the horse is Milliron Pete – look at the word, it’s all one word – Milliron." That night, the announcer slipped and first called him Millie Run then Millie Ron, then finally got it right the third time – Milliron.
I won seven or eight times with Pete. I never met Dr. Smith, but I met Larry Hines. Jason and Larry still race together. They own a horse named Straight on the Rocks, who is Milliron Pete’s half-sister. They are both out of the same mare. She looks identical to Pete; she is the same color, a little bit thinner.
My partner and I sold Pete in 2015. This $1,000 horse that was named for a vet in southeast Ohio made over $40,000 in a year and a half. We got an offer for Pete from a guy out of New York and the time was right. Tim Bojarski [Batavia Downs @ harnesslink.com] wrote an article about Pete right after we sold him. Pete won four races in a row. They sold him, and he raced for another two or three years and did well.
In harness racing there is one horse that stands alone as far as money made, and that is Foiled Again [2019 Harness Racing Hall of Fame]. He made 7 million in harness racing. He is retired now. They had a farewell tour and took him to all the tracks. I didn’t own Pete at the time, but they took Pete to Cleveland to race. Foiled Again was in the same race as Pete, and Pete won. Pete beat the richest pacer ever.
One day, I heard Pete was ill. I always had a soft spot for Pete and wanted him back just to give him a good home. I heard they put him down about two years ago. He won over 30 races in his lifetime, winning over $250,000.
Thanks, Kip, for sharing!
More about Milliron Pete:
Red Mile Racetrack July 25, 2019
Red Mile Racetrack August 1, 2019
Red Mile Racetrack August 8, 2019
Red Mile Racetrack August 26, 2019