In just five years, Baltimore born and bred jockey Forest Boyce has established herself as a contender in the competitive sport of flat racing. Last year, she ranked seventh in local standings with 57 wins. With the Preakness approaching, she’s eyeing the stakes races, hoping for mounts on both Black Eyed Susan and Preakness days.
Get for next weekend’s Maryland Hunt Cup with Patrick Smithwick’s latest book, “Flying Change.” The memoir tells of the Gilman alum and Hopkins grad’s decision to get himself and his horse ready — within a nine-month period — to ride the Maryland Hunt Cup.
The demands of Smithwick’s return to racing pull him away from his family and his writing, creating major conflicts. Nonetheless, Smithwick, who wrote about growing up in the world of racing with his Hall of Fame steeplechase jockey dad “Paddy” Smithwick in “Racing My Father”, strives to carry on traditions from his upbringing and apply them to raising his three children. He discusses the book in more detail in the video, above.
The author will appear tonight, April 25 at the Ivy Bookshop from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. for a reception, reading and book signing. He will continue on his local book tour with signings and readings at Harford Day School on April 29, Gilman on May 11 and at Greetings and Readings on June 2.
See event details at Baltimore Fishbowl Events
Recent years have been hard on the sport of kings. Faced with a draining audience, horse racing has resorted to gimmicks in an attempt to remain relevant – see the Preakness’s attempt to re-brand itself with a beer-chugging centaur mascot and infield bikini contests for one (depressing) example. But one very classic bastion of equine enthusiasm still exists: Maryland’s spring steeplechase season. These nationally-famous races send amateur riders galloping over several miles of rolling terrain and five-foot tall cedar post-and-rail fences as tailgating spectators nibble on deviled eggs and cheer from the sidelines. Although there’s prize money for the top three finishers, jockeys can’t be paid for racing. This is something they do because they love it.
For most casual spectators, Maryland’s steeplechase season begins this Saturday, April 21, with the 110th running of the Maryland Grand National. The Grand National, a three-mile, 18-fence course, is followed one week later by its more venerable cousin, the 116th Maryland Hunt Cup. The Hunt Cup sends riders over 22 fences in four miles, a course so challenging that it’s considered an accomplishment to finish at all; last year, fourteen horses entered, ten started, and only three completed the race.