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Risky Business Update

Published: September 24, 2011 10:14 am ET

Last Comment: September 26, 2011 10:42 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

“It is risky business but it also has potential for high rewards too.”

That’s Nick Boyd, a harness racing trainer from Guelph, describing what it’s like to be in the business of racing horses. That fact helped him score a spot in a new reality show on Slice TV called Risky Business. It’s the brainchild of Brett Wilson, one of Canada’s wealthiest entrepreneurs and philanthropists, who left the Dragons’ Den on CBC to start his own high-stakes investment TV show.

When 27-year-old Boyd got a call from the show’s casting director, he knew harness racing would be a great fit for the show, and it would be a good chance for the racing industry to gain some publicity.

“The premise of the show is to support entrepreneurs,” said Boyd. “They wanted to show people that there are small businesses within Canada that you can invest in if you’re willing to risk it. I thought harness racing was a perfect one because it’s risky business.”

Boyd, who has spent his entire life around racehorses, knows the pitfalls and payoffs that are part of the sport. He began his training career in 2002. Since then, the horses he trained have won purse earnings of almost $850,000. Boyd has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Guelph in Management Economics and Investment Finance, which has proven to be very handy. During his second year of university, he bought a horse for $600 and made almost $44,000 in 5 months. He currently trains five horses and works as the Operations Manager at the Campbellville Training Centre, home to over 80 racehorses.

On the second episode of Risky Business, which premiered on September 19th, two novice investors named Mik and James put $20,000 on the line. They were given the option of investing in a racehorse with Boyd, or the opportunity to buy and resell vintage wine with a private wine management company. The catch? The entrepreneurs had only 30 days to help the investors make an impressive profit. While Mik and James decided to go with the wine, host Brett Wilson shook hands with Boyd for a deal worth $20,000. “It’s phenomenal to work with a person like Brett,” said Boyd. “I think secretly, everyone entering the show was hoping to work with him, so it’s kind of a dream scenario.”

With $20,000 of Wilson’s money and just 30 days to turn a profit, Boyd set to work finding the right horse to invest in. His plan was to buy a horse from a claiming race, where every horse in the race is up for sale. A horse named Lets Make Ideal caught his eye, so with the clock ticking, Boyd went for it.

“He had made nearly $15,000 in his last six starts, he fit the parameters of the money and the time frame, so I just thought maybe he was what I was looking for.”

Boyd bought 7-year-old pacer Lets Make Ideal, or 'Dealer', as he is known around the barn, for a sum of just under $17,000 in July, during the taping of the show. 'Dealer' made his racing debut for Boyd by scoring a third-place finish at Mohawk Racetrack.

But just two races later, after a solid second-place finish, Dealer sustained an injury that caused a major setback.

“He basically had a tear in his ligament,” said Boyd. It was a harsh reminder of the reality of horse racing. Boyd knew that Dealer would heal eventually, but not in time to impress Wilson.

When Boyd returned to the set of Risky Business a month later, he brought Wilson a briefcase of cash totaling $5,300. It was the money that Dealer won plus what was left over from his purchase, minus the cost of paying for his training and vet bills. While it wasn’t exactly what Wilson was hoping to see, Boyd says he’s still very happy with how things turned out.

“Dealer’s actually back racing now and Brett and I still own him,” he explained. “We’re partners on the horse so it has worked out great because Brett has continued on with me in the business.”

Boyd says his journey with Risky Business isn’t over yet and he feels great about his decision to buy Lets Make Ideal.

“They’re going to do a follow-up show for my episode and webcasts with updates on how Dealer is doing. He’s a very friendly horse. He’s always looking for attention and treats, whether it’s licorice or carrots. He’s an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Ultimately, Boyd says being a part of Risky Business has been an amazing experience and he’s excited about what the future holds.

“Regardless of how it looked like it turned out on TV, I feel great about it. For me, the real payoff has been the networking connections and opportunities that it has opened me up to.”

To watch the Risky Business episode featuring Nick Boyd and Lets Make Ideal, click here to watch the episode on the Slice TV website or tune in Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern to catch the replay.

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Hilary Eastmure)

September 26, 2011 - 10:42 pmWOW, how about some more

WOW, how about some more Risky Business - with those GOOD Looks, BRAINS and a fast horse, it's a deadly combination. For sure, it's --- AWESOME material for a great show!

Have a few connections in the TV commercial industry, - maybe the suggestion of having 'horse racing' on a TV commercial - why not - obviously, NOT Bud Light, or Molson Canadian, ? or Soporro from Japan, but then again, maybe the Molson girls might not be too shabby at all to be seen with.

Have previously suggested --- having a 'Driver/Trainer' to represent Canada in "Dancing with the Stars" - why not Jodi Jamieson or, ---- they would be an excellent representative for Harness Racing, and, in my opinion, younger, talented and better looking than some 'lack of talent' competitors that I have seen on that TV program in YEARS! (Don't even suggest the Batchelor - that would be too much pain for 8 weeks.

WHY NOT be seen on 'DWT the S' EH?

September 24, 2011 - 9:47 pmWhat a great show. The

Paul Myers SAID...

What a great show. The attention to our sport is priceless. I loved it!

September 24, 2011 - 6:20 pmGreat job Nick to get us

Allan Schott SAID...

Great job Nick to get us attention. While it would have been better if the horse didn't get hurt, it is part of the game. In a way it is best to have people see the best and the worst of owning a horse; it avoids false expectations.

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