Third-generation horseman Braiden Rhoades earned his first career driving win aboard The Bus A on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at MGM Northfield Park.
Son of one of Northfield Park's leading trainers, Billy Rhoades, Braiden started driving more regularly in 2023 after just five drives in 2022. Billy admits it was his fault: "I delayed his start driving, mostly because I was overprotective."
Braiden tagged along with his dad to the barn in his younger years, growing up playing baseball and competing in wrestling at Ashland High School. That competitive spirit spilled over to harness racing, something Rhoades has enjoyed getting into.
Rhoades bided his time on Tuesday, sitting off the pace with The Bus A into the initial turn getting away in sixth. That patience proved key as Ashleysbest (Keith Kash Jr.) and Current Yankee (James Day) mixed it up on the front end to a :28.1 opening quarter.
After that stinging opening quarter for their class, Rhoades set his sights on the lead, tipping first-over to challenge Ashleysbest and working his way to the top, clearing in :57.4.
Rhoades implored his colt to go on up the backstretch as he dealt with pressure from Micheal (Hunter Myers), who made a big move up the backstretch, past three-quarters in 1:27.
Turning for home, The Bus A drew off easily through the stretch, winning by 3-1/4 lengths in 1:57.
For winning trainer Bill Rhoades, the victory was personal.
"This is one of the proudest and happiest moments of my life," he said in a post on Facebook. "I can be tough, but this victory really warms my heart. Give it time; you will be great at this."
“It means a lot to me to get my first win,” said Braiden. “I’ve always wanted to be a driver; I’m glad I am getting the opportunity to do what I love.”
Live racing resumes on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. MGM Northfield Park currently races on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.