GOSHEN, NY — By virtue of his recent statistics, Braxten Brett Boyd is the true definition of Rising Star. When the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association holds their 63rd annual Awards Banquet on Sunday, December 11, 2022, harness racing driver Braxten Boyd will receive the chapter’s Rising Star Award.
The Michigan native started driving when he was 17 in the year 2017. He had one drive. At 18, he picked up five drives with two wins. The young Boyd was working with his dad, Brett Boyd, while also attending classes at the Jackson Community College. At 19, he steadily progressed to 91 starts with 8 victories, mostly at Cal Expo and Running Aces.
Considering a career in golf back in 2018, Boyd was on the college team and had learned enough about both sports to tell writer Chris Lomon in Harness Racing Update: “When it comes to driving, you have no choice but to take things race-by-race just as you take things hole-to-hole in golf. If you let one race ruin your night and you have five horses to drive, you’re going to drive all those other ones badly. If you drive one badly and it bothers you, it could potentially set the table for a bad night. And that’s not fair to the horses, the owners and the trainers. When it comes to golf, you can’t let one bad shot or one bad hole ruin your round.” This sounds a lot like wisdom before his years.
Two years ago, when the country was taking a break, Boyd was just getting started. In 2020, at age 20, and despite the pandemic Boyd had 48 wins in 433 starts. He raced out at Cal Expo on the West Coast before the shutdown. “They said this track was a great place to learn,” Braxten related at that time to Mark Ratzky. “On a mile track, you have the chance to wait for the last quarter, which isn’t usually the case on a half-mile or five-eighths track.”
When the track at Running Aces re-opened, race announcer Darren Gagne gave him the nickname, ‘Triple B’ when he competes at the Minnesota facility. Boyd enjoyed success at Running Aces, partly due to COVID, due to the restrictions that prevented some of the regular drivers from competing there. That was all the wiggle room he needed.
Last year, Boyd broke through, with 1,693 and 244 wins…nearly five times the win total of the previous year. His earnings for the year: $1,810,138…up from $301,863 the year before. He plied his trade at Hoosier Park, Pompano, Pocono, Monticello and Batavia, just to name a few. On a Monday in August 2021, Boyd won four races on the card at Monticello. Two days later he won five and had four seconds at Batavia. He also won back-to-back races at the Meadowlands last summer. It was clear that Boyd was well on his way.
This season, at age 22, Boyd has visited the winners circle 259 times. Perhaps more impressively, he has doubled his earnings to $3,746,724. Racing primarily at Pocono and Yonkers, Boyd has been described by some harness writers as having a ‘breakout’ year. But they have said that every year for the past three.
Currently 19th on the North American total starts list, Boyd sits at 35th in earnings, which is an remarkable feat, given that he had earned just over $300,000 two years ago. Nonetheless, it won’t be long before we hear his name mentioned along with the top harness horse drivers in the country. This year alone he has won more money than such Grand Circuit notables as Mark MacDonald, Dave Palone and Ake Svanstedt. In fact, we hate to say it, but Boyd has more money earned this season than our esteemed main honoree, who shall remain nameless. Triple B has arrived.
This year, in addition to the year-end awards for horses and horse people from the local tracks, the Monticello-Goshen chapter will also honor Wally Hennessey (Lifetime Achievement Award); Anthony Bruno (John Manzi Leadership Award); Gabe Prewitt (John Gilmour Good Guy Award); Lance Ditewig (Excelsior Award); Dr. Stephen P. Dey III (Cradle of the Trotter Breeders Award); Auxiliary of Goshen Historic Track (Amy Bull Crist Distinguished Service Award); Ted Waddell (Phil Pines Award); Scott Keppler (Amateur Driver); and Tracy and Dr. Gary Smith (Mighty M Award of Appreciation).
Tickets for the gala event at the Wallkill Golf Club, Middletown, NY, can be reserved by contacting Shawn Wiles at (845) 798-4074 or Email: [email protected].
by Chris Tully, for the Monticello-Goshen Chapter of USHWA