Day At The Track

Braxten Boyd enjoying the experience

11:00 AM 11 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Braxten Boyd, harness racing
Braxten Boyd in the sulky
Photo courtesy Braxten Boyd

Braxten Boyd is one of the new names on the Cal Expo harness racing program, as the 19-year-old Michigan native is getting his first taste of California racing.

"I grew up around the horses on my father's farm, and I knew I wanted to be in racing from about the time I was in Kindergarten," Braxten related.

Boyd recorded his first victory as a 17-year-old on the Michigan fairs, with his initial pari-mutuel score coming this past summer at Running Aces behind his father Brett's top performer Bestinthebusiness

After getting his initial racing education from his dad, Braxten apprenticed under Gene Miller in Minnesota. Ed and Willie Hernandez were two of the most encouraging people when it came to his decision to give California a try.

"They said this track was a great place to learn," Braxten related. "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."

Boyd is currently working here with the Nick Roland shedrow and looking to pick up as many catch drives as he can. So far he's made a half-dozen trips to the Cal Expo winner's circle and is looking forward to more.

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There are two wagers offered here each night with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 20-cent Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 4 comes with a $30,000 guaranteed gross pool on Fridays and a $40,000 guarantee on Saturdays.

Open Pace brings out contentious cast

The last four clashes at the head of the pacing class have seen four different winners, with last week's upsetter Almost Cut My Hair looking to do an encore in Saturday's $7,200 Open Pace.

The headliner goes as the fourth event on a 12-race card that is presented under the banner of Watch and Wager LLC and things get underway at 6:10 p.m.

Almost Cut My Hair is a 6-year-old son of Barber Pole who is owned by Hank Wieseneck, Martin Garey and Bob Johnson with Johnson the conditioner and Chip Lackey back at the controls.

He rattled off a hat trick versus softer company in November, had to settle for minor awards in the next two appearances, then pulled off the 33-1 surprise in last week's top dance for the pacing set.

Leaving from the cozy rail in that large cast, Almost Cut My Hair tracked to the lane, then ignited when the question was asked by Lackey to be up by a neck over fellow longshot Senga Nitro.

With Senga Nitro going off at 42-1 and 16-1 Marced Magic rounding out the Trifecta, it returned a whopping $1,669 for each correct 20-cent ticket.

Senga Nitro and Marced Magic will once again be in the line-up along with Buzz Light, Timetoplaythegame and To The Limit, while Allmyx'liventexas has the outside post as that classy performer looks to get back on the winning track.

By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

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