On the afternoon of Jan. 29, 2005, Josh Boyd was at his grandmothers place outside Los Lunas, New Mexico, helping his dad put up a horse barn. The two worked for hours in the crisp, high-desert air. After a while Boyd put down his tools. Ill be back soon, he told his dad. I have one last horse to ride. The 29-year-old jockey had been riding racehorses for nearly half his life at that point and was one of the regions top riders, and so pausing in the course of a day to board a big-money horse was not an unusual adventure for Boyd.
As he was leaving, his grandmother came out from the house to say goodbye. When are you coming back? she asked.
Ive got one last horse to ride. Ill be back soon, he told her, and then he and his fiancée, Ashley, piled into his truck and the two drove three hours south to Sunland Park, where Boyd was scheduled to appear in a race the next afternoon.