Maryland Native Reaches Milestone on 3YOF Determined Driver
D Hatman Thoroughbreds’ Determined Driver reeled in favored I’m a Cutie Pie in deep stretch and pulled clear to give jockey Forest Boyce her 1,000th career victory Friday at Laurel Park.
Determined Driver ($6.20), a Maryland-bred daughter of Dialed In making her third career start and first in six months for trainer by Phil Schoenthal, covered six furlongs in 1:12.75 to win the entry-level optional claiming allowance 3-year-old fillies by 1 ¾ lengths.
It was the second win of the day for Boyce, who picked up No. 999 with Cynthia McGuinnes and Francis Clemens’ Midsummers Eve ($13) in Race 3. The 4-year-old Maryland-bred filly is trained by Tim Keefe.
“I really appreciate all the support I’ve had this winter,” Boyce said. “I’ve been pigeonholed a little bit as a turf rider, and everyone has really helped me out and put me on some nice dirt horses in some good spots. It’s been fun.”
Her milestone win was the seventh from 30 mounts at Laurel’s winter Heritage Meet for Boyce, ranking her fifth. Jaime Rodriguez leads the way with 20.
“This year has started off way better than last year,” Boyce said. “I think I maybe had three winners at this point last year, so this is good.”
A Baltimore native and resident of Fallston, Md., the 39-year-old Boyce was runner-up for the Eclipse Award as champion apprentice of 2010 when she won a season-high 129 races, captured riding titles at Laurel’s summer and fall meets, and was the state’s overall leading rider with 104 victories at Laurel and historic Pimlico Race Course.
Represented for years by agent Jay ‘Shug’ Burtis, Boyce is tied for the ninth-most wins in Maryland Million history with seven, her first coming with Pocket Patch in the 2011 Turf. Other notable victories have come with Eighttofasttocatch in the 2013 and 2014 Classic, Crabcakes in the 2017 and 2018 Distaff, and Jack’s in the Deck in the 2015 Sprint. Eighttofasttocatch, now a 19-year-old foxhunter, has been at the Boyce family farm in Fallston since the summer of 2019.
Boyce attended Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, Md., where she played on the polo team, and graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a degree in Fine Arts. She began working for late Hall of Fame trainer Mikey Smithwick at the age of 11 and galloped horses for Holly Robinson and the late Dickie Small at Pimlico before making her professional debut in the summer of 2009. Her first winner came aboard Colony Club June 30, 2009 at Colonial Downs.
Small-trained Fascinatin’ Rhythm gave Boyce her first career stakes win in the 2010 Geisha at Laurel. Her first of five graded victories came aboard Nellie Cashman in the 2013 Virginia Oaks (G3) at Colonial.
Other graded wins for Boyce have come with Medea in the 2014 Eatontown Oaks (G3), Lunah Time in the 2015 Obeah (G3), Onus in the 2015 Commonwealth Oaks (G3) and Doctor Mounty in the 2018 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3). The latter two were for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who regularly uses Boyce when he ships horses to Maryland.
Boyce won 46 races and more than $2.3 million in purse earnings in 2023, to push her career bankroll past $35 million including a single-season high of $3,499,421 in 2013.
“It feels really good,” Boyce said. “These people [in Maryland] are the ones that got me going, so to do this here means a lot.”