Forest Boyce reaches 900 wins

Thruster - Forest Boyce
Thruster gave jockey Forest Boyce 900 career wins when he won at Laurel Park. Photo Jim McCue.

Thruster was the longest shot on the board in Thursday’s first race at Laurel Park. No matter: the Birdstone gelding trained by Donald Barr was also the first one home, getting his nose down just ahead of 3-5 favorite Johnny Swish to triumph in the maiden claiming contest.

The win gave jockey Forest Boyce 900 victories for her career. Her 900 wins have come in 6,973 starts (13%), and her mounts have earned more than $30 million.

Boyce, 37, is a Maryland native who began her riding career in 2009. It was 2010, though, when she really began to get traction, winning a career-best 129 races from 759 starters and generating more than $2 million in purse earnings.

Boyce also won two meet titles at Laurel that year and was the leading rider in Maryland with 106 in-state victories. She won 119 races with the bug in ’09-’10 and ended up as runner-up for the Eclipse Award as outstanding apprentice.

Boyce has won five graded stakes in her career. Her first came aboard Nellie Cashman in the 2013 Virginia Oaks (G3), and her most recent came in the 2018 BWI Turf Cup (G3) aboard Doctor Mounty. Her five graded wins, all in Grade 3 races, have come aboard five different horses.

Forest Boyce. Photo Jim McCue.

That 2013 season, when she earned her first graded win, was also her most lucrative racing year. She won 10 stakes that year, four of them aboard millionaire Eighttofasttocatch, and her mounts earned just shy of $3.5 million.

Boyce has remained a steady presence on the Maryland racing scene in recent years. In 2017 she was the regular pilot aboard Crabcakes as that runner won three stakes, including back-to-back runnings of the Maryland Million Distaff, and placed in three others. In 2021 she won 54 races with $2.1 million in purse earnings, the 10th time her horses have hit the $2 million earnings mark.

So far in 2022, she has won twice from 22 starters.