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A Tale of Two Deans

By Noah Joseph

Over the years, many jockeys who rode regularly at Canterbury became fan favorites and etched their names into history. Jockeys like Derek Bell, Paul Nolan, Scott Stevens, Ronnie Allen Jr., Donna Barton, and Chris Valovich all became Minnesota racing legends. However, two that really stand out were two jockeys with the same first name and incredible riding abilities; Dean Kutz and Dean Butler.

Dean Kutz was not only a supreme rider at Canterbury, but also around the Midwest, winning at many tracks in major races, including eight graded stakes wins. Kutz rode at Canterbury Downs through the 80s. He was a patrol judge for most of the inaugural 1985 season before riding his first race on Labor Day. He won his first race at Canterbury on Lassie’s Dutches on September 6. Kutz won his first Canterbury title in 1987 with 158 wins, a Canterbury Park or Downs record, and he won another title 1988 with 146 wins. He rode at Canterbury until the end of the 1989 season. He made occasional appearances at Canterbury Park in the mid to late 90s and early 2000s, and rode for part of the 2002 Canterbury season. Kutz died of cancer in 2004. He’s a member of the Canterbury Hall of Fame.

Much like Kutz, Dean Butler came to Canterbury and instantly became a favorite. He made his first Canterbury appearance in 2006, and won his first ever Canterbury mount on Squall Line on May 6, 2006. He won three consecutive riding titles from 2009-2011 and two more titles in 2013 and 2016. He’s ridden some of the best horses in Canterbury Park history such as Glitter Star, Chick Fight, Nomorewineforeddie, Hold for More, and Sky and Sea. He’s ridden for top trainers who ship to Canterbury such as Bill Mott, Michael Stidham, and Michael Tomlinson. He’s third in the rider standings currently with 38 wins, and he’s also a surefire future Canterbury Hall of Fame member.