Bode Miller, an Olympic and world champion for whom horse racing was thought to be a mere sideline hobby, says he will focus intensely on the sport when he retires. The 2002 silver medalist in the giant slalom and men’s combined broached the idea during an interview scheduled to air this weekend on In Depth with Graham Bensinger, in which Bensinger pointed to a bobblehead doll of Bob Baffert, an American trainer whose horses have won three Kentucky Derbies.
“I understand you co-own a couple of horses with him,” Bensinger remarked. “Plans for that?”
“That’s going to be my career after skiing,” Miller explained.
He wasn’t joking. According to Vanity Fair, Baffert, an avid ski racing fan, has been watching Miller since the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and even named his son Bode after the 39-year-old athlete. When the two met at the 2005 Kentucky Derby, it turned out the admiration went both ways, and by March 2013, they co-owned a 16-hand chestnut thoroughbred named Icy Ride.
Having shrugged off the possibility of entering the 2018 Olympics, Miller told Bensinger that he’d be stepping up his commitment to equestrian sports in the near future, including plans to buy a property in Kentucky with an experienced training partner. The property will have multiple stalls, a six furlong track, and a full-time veterinarian on staff.
“In everything, you need a good team around you; you need a group of people that has the right expertise,” Miller said, echoing the comparisons between skiing and horse racing that he shared with Vanity Fair. “You need to get people who really know what they’re doing and love what they do.”
This past spring, Miller finished eighth in the season downhill standings after missing all of the 2013 season following knee surgery. He said he would be spending more time in Kentucky after the coming season.
“Everything is more or less set up and ready to go,” he told Bensinger. “Once the horses are ready to race, we bring them to wherever we’re going to race them.”