Like most farriers who shoe at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Todd Boston stays quite busy leading up to Derby Day.
“When we’re shoeing these horses, it isn’t so much they need the new shoes,” Boston tells WAVE 3 News. “They need their feet trimmed, because their toes start getting long. You can tell their legs aren’t very big, and that puts a lot of pressure up their limbs. So we’re trying to get some toe off them and keep them up under themselves so they can unload weight correctly.”
Boston got his start as an apprentice to his father Bob Boston, who also shod horses at Churchill Downs. After 32 years, the younger Boston made his own mark as a trusted name in the industry, having shod Big Brown, Barbaro and American Pharoah, among others.
“I grew up around this,” Boston says. “Never thought I’d do it, looked too daggone hard to me. But in the summertime, I was working out here and he always said if I wanted to learn ... and that was 32 years ago.”
On this day, Boston is shoeing Monomoy Girl, a likely Oaks favorite that is trained by Brad Cox.
“I’ve known Todd for a long time,” says Liz Crow, who bought Monomoy Girl at the 2016 Keeneland for BSW Bloodstock. “He’s one of the best farriers there is. It means a lot for him to do [Monomoy Girl]’s shoes.”
As he shoes the filly, Crow appreciates the importance of Boston’s work.
“It’s everything,” Crow says. “You think about [when] Justwhistledixie came out with a foot problem the morning of the Oaks and I was just thinking about this,” she says. “This is as important as any of the preparation. If this doesn’t go right, she’s not ready to fire her best race. Years and years you dream of getting to this stage. Everything has to go perfect for you to be in this situation. That’s why Brad [Cox] uses him [Boston].”