12/19/2014 2:43PM

Boyce enjoys first local meet


Jockey Forest Boyce, who made a last-minute decision to ride this season at Fair Grounds instead of staying home in Maryland to ride at Laurel, said she’s enjoying the track and the city.

“It’s real nice,” Boyce said. “Everyone’s been really helpful. … It was nice to be able to go somewhere, try something new.”

Boyce, a 30-year-old Baltimore native, was the leading rider in Maryland as an apprentice in 2010. As a journeyman, she consistently has ranked in the top 10 in the jockey standings at Laurel and Pimlico.

A talk with retired jockey Rosie Napravnik, who also started on the Maryland circuit, helped convince Boyce to give Fair Grounds a try, she said. Napravnik also helped Boyce line up agent Derek Ducoing, who had been Napravnik’s agent.

Through Thursday, Boyce was in a five-way tie for ninth in the rider standings, with five wins from 28 mounts. On Dec. 12, she rode two winners, including Enchanted River in an allowance sprint on turf for trainer Hugh Robertson.

“I never had ridden her before, but I watched her ride in Maryland,” Robertson said. “I figured if she’s in the top few riders in Maryland, you can ride quite a bit. … I was very happy with her effort. She’s a hard worker.”

Boyce said the other jockeys have helped her adjust to the track.

“I feel I’ve learned a lot already, how they ride the turf and the dirt down here,” she said.

Over the years, many jockeys new to Fair Grounds have discovered that with the long stretch they had to be more patient, but Boyce said she has found out she should be more aggressive on the dirt, especially when riding cheap horses.