ARTERBURN, KEITH CUTTING A WIDE SWATH

by JIM WELLS

Trainer Mike Biehler was grinning ear to ear as he entered the winner’s circle and then broke into a laugh.
“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” he said, shaking his head in utter amazement.
What he was talking about was the ride that Brittany Arterburn had just put on his horse, Coyote Way, after picking up the mount from the injured Dustin Dugas in the second race Friday night.

Arterburn has dominated the turf at Canterbury Park this summer, riding primarily for her father’s barn. The Arterburns have truly put on a show.

Brittany opened Friday’s card with a grass win aboard her father’s horse, Awesome Dream, and then guided Coyote Way home in the very next race at 17-1.

The Friday crowd, obviously, didn’t give her much of a chance. Not even Jason Coyote, the horse’s owner, was expecting a win. “Nope,” said Biehler.

Here are the figures on Lonnie Arterburn: He is 13 for 42 on dirt and grass. He is 10 for 27 on the grass.

Here are the astonishing figures on Arterburn the daughter: She has won 13 races from 31 starts on the grass, a phenomenal 42 percent.

“She’s nothing short of phenomenal,” said paddock analyst Jeff Maday before the third race.

Arterburn and Lori Keith stood at the top of the steps in the winner’s circle watching a replay of the second race.

“They should rule you off the turf,” Keith said. “When I came up to you I thought I was going to blow past you.” Instead, Keith’s horse, All Night Star, faded to fourth.

Keith, who will become the first female rider to finish in the top five since Paula Bacon in 1995, is currently in fourth place with 29 wins. She had a great meet at Turf Paradise in Phoenix over the winter as well and has ridden 90 winners in 2011.

Ry Eilkeberry, riding the Mac Robertson-trained Variable, owned by Bob Ryan, finished a fast-closing second to Coyote Way. “Another couple of jumps and we win,” Ryan said. “But I’ll take second. I’m happy with that in her first time out.”

Meanwhile, the conversation shifted back to Brittany Arterburn. “She’s unbelievable on the turf. She’s really tough,” added Biehler, who moved into a tie with Bernell Rhone for the training lead.

Rhone laughed at the manner in which it occurred. Brittany is married to his son, Scott.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Jockey lounge custodians Jerry Simmons and Bill Chestnut were recalling the old days together at Waterford Park years ago.

It seems that the jockey room laundry was sent to a nearby hospital laundry on a regular basis for cleaning.

On one occasion, the laundry was returned and included three straight jackets. You guessed it. Simmons and Chestnut set out to try the new apparel on some of the riders. They laughed, nearly giggled, at some the recollections of some riders struggling to free themselves from the restrictive jackets.

That reminiscence brought on a whole new line of discussion. Simmons recalled someone who could change the shape of his body by stretching out and slip out of a straight jacket that way.

That brought up the subject of Houdini, who knew how to escape just about any restraining device made. “He was also a great self promoter,” Chestnut pointed out.

“Well, was anybody better at that than Muhammad Ali,” Simmons said.

There’s no telling where the conversation might have gone, but the bugle sounded for the next race, commanding the attention of everyone within earshot.

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