Geovanni Franco

Geovanni Franco CBY 2015

By Kristin Bechthold

If you’ve ever heard a short clip of music and improvised dialogue referencing the 1972 movie “The Godfather” playing after a race, you will know that jockey Geovanni Franco has won.

To settle any confusion, the story goes like this: though originally from Mexico, Franco was often mistaken for being Italian while racing in Canada. It happened so often that he went along with it and pretended to be Italian. When he first came to Canterbury, track announcer Paul Allen began the “Godfather” bit when Franco entered the winner’s circle, thus, his persona was born. “I consider myself Italian now,” Franco said with a laugh.

Though he had little connection to the racing industry, Franco’s uncle, who worked as a farrier, told him he should give riding a try.

“I was taking a horse’s shoe off one day and my uncle told me, ‘You shouldn’t be down there, you should be on top of the horses,'” Franco said.

He decided to take his uncle’s advice and begin a career as a jockey in Mexico. Now in his early twenties, he has over six years of experience under his belt.

 

 

After riding in Mexico, he traveled to Canada to begin his apprenticeship that would last for two years. He then made his way to the United States in 2011 and came to Canterbury for his first full season in 2012. He now primarily rides at Turf Paradise in Phoenix and Canterbury Park.

Outside of racing, Franco’s biggest hobby is golf. Though he’s still a beginner, he does it as much as he can, wherever he can. In fact, he described his “perfect day” as “a day of racing and then golfing.” Though one of his dreams was to be a basketball player, he claimed he was too short to play. In that accord, his current job and hobby fit him perfectly.

Though it is clear that Franco has a passion for riding, he also has a clear understanding of what really matters outside of his career. He claimed that if he had one week left to live, he would spend it relaxing on a beach with his family. If he could choose his last words, they would be, “peace, love, and honor.”

Cannonball Blows ‘Em Away

Canon 5-27-13 #2There was John Bullit, a horse enshrined in Canterbury Park’s Hall of Fame. There is the silver bullet, a shell capable of repelling a serious vampire threat, and there is the Human Bullet, aka David Smith, Jr., who soared 165 feet through the mist and premature gloaming Monday afternoon and into a net 20 feet above the ground.

Memorial Day might never be the same.

The patrons at Canterbury Park, 8,863 of them, sat or stood spellbound awaiting unquestionably the stellar sideshow of Canterbury Park’s long list of novel attractions over the years.

Paddock analyst Angela Hermann analyzed the cannonball from the lift of a boom truck, her high heels occasionally sticking in the grate floor beneath her but safely anchored in a harness and directly in front of the Human Cannonball’s flight path. Beside her was Michelle Benson, who filmed the event for blog viewers. They looked up as the Cannonball soared past them overhead.

“Hey, I’ll give you $500 bucks if you grab Angela on the way and take her with you,” said announcer Paul Allen.

“I’ll give you $1,000 if you don’t,” countered Hermann.

The presentation was the brainchild of press-box boss Jeff Maday, who has been advocating some time for this event.

BetSeattle

Nearly lost in the afterglow and gun powder of the daredevil demonstration, harkening memories of Evel Knievel, was the feature horse race of the afternoon, the $50,000-guaranteed Honor the Hero Stakes at five furlongs on the turf.

The winner?

From the local stable of perennial training champ Mac Robertson, who was saddling horses at Delaware Park on Sunday and left paddock duties to his assistant, Brad Hedges. The winning horse, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Hugh Robertson named Bet Seattle, shone on the wet, soft turf for a 1 ¾ length win over El Seventyseven, also from the Robertson barn.

The winner was sent off at 10-1 producing a healthy payoff for those who backed him.

“Maybe Mac should stay away for these races,” quipped Hedges, who saddled Heliskier for his easy win two weeks ago with Robertson out of town.

The winning rider was Geovanni Franco, who picked up the mount and the stakes win at 9 a.m. Monday when it was announced Nate Smith would not fly in to ride the horse.

The win was the first for Mac Robertson in the Honor the Hero Stakes, adding a Memorial Day memento to countless other stakes wins and eight training titles in Shakopee.

Third was the ship-in and favorite Canuletmedowneasy, with Eddie Martin, Jr. aboard. Favored to win because of his career best effort in the Grade III Shakertown at Keeneland Race Course, losing by half a length at 29-1 odds, the son of With Distinction did not run appear to enjoy the soft going on Monday.

Memorial Day will hereafter evoke memories of a milestone for Mike Biehler, who saddled his 500th winner in Shakopee for Monday’s third race.

Hidden Agenda’s agenda was anything but. She broke sharply to the lead and outran eight rivals to win with lengths to spare. “She broke out of there like a rocket,” said winning rider Lori Keith, who was beaming afterward.

It was that kind of day, a day devoted to shooting humans out of cannons and horses out of the gate.

“I think I was more excited that she won than he (Biehler) was,” Keith said. The winning filly got a swift start to the race just as Keith as to the season, moving into a tie for the lead in the rider standings with Eddie Martin, Jr. at that point with her seventh win of the meet.

Biehler’s 500 win at Canterbury moved him into a tie with Doug Oliver for second place on the all-time trainer winning list. Bernell Rhone has 655 wins.

The tie didn’t last long. Twenty-five minutes at most, because Derek Bell took the Biehler-trained Machorina to the wire first in a 7 and ½-furlong claiming sprint on the turf in the fourth race.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Geovanni Franco – The Godfather

The grin stretches ear to ear whenever he hears the music, in response to the recognition but maybe too because it’s a reminder he’s just ridden another winner. Each time he enters the winner’s circle, track announcer Paul Allen starts the background music from the movie, the Godfather. The music has played a total of 15 times now.

“It’s OK. I like it,” said Geovanni Franco, 21, riding for the first time this summer at Canterbury Park.

Here’s the kicker to this particular tale. Franco was born and raised in Mexico City, has never been to Italy and needed to be told that the music accompanying each of his wins was from an American movie about Italian mobsters.

“Yeah, I know,” he said Friday night after bringing in Patch of Blue in the fourth race, his 15th win of the meet. “The Mafia.”

Franco was standing just inside the jockeys lounge talking about the win when the riders for the next race began strolling past him out the door.

“Hey, way to go, Godfather,” said Denny Velasquez, bumping fists with Franco.

A short time later, Lori Keith walked past, done for the night. “Hey, Geovanni,” she said, in her best, gruff Italian dialect.

Riding at Canterbury Park for the first time, in the U.S. only a couple of years, Geovanni Franco, just like that, has an identity that has absolutely nothing to do with his true heritage.

There is nothing in his background to suggest that he might one day become a jockey, either. “I have an uncle who’s a farrier,” he said. “He shoes jumpers.” That was Franco’s introduction to the horse world, and it evolved from there.

That was in Mexico City, and two years later Franco was riding at the city’s only thoroughbred track, the Hipodromo de Las Americas.

He was convinced to give Hastings Racecourse a try in Canada – the same place this year’s Kentucky Derby winning rider Mario Gutierrez got his start – in 2009 and wound up the track’s leading bug boy. His first winner, on a horse named Via Vennetto, came two months short of his 18th birthday.

“Then I went back to Mexico for five months,” he said.

Next, he gave Santa Anita a try. “I was there one month,” he said. “I won one race.”

That surprised him.

“I didn’t think it would be that tough,” he explained.

Then he went to San Francisco, back to Canada and home again to Mexico.

Everything changed in 2011 while he was racing in Northern California, at the Fair meets. He met Miguel Silva at the Santa Rosa meet.

“The very first race he won for me,” said Silva. “A horse named Itspartytime.”

A relationship developed quickly. When Silva returned to Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Franco went too. When Silva shipped his horses to Shakopee, Franco came along. “Wherever he goes, I go,” Franco said.

Franco has not been involved in a sport other than race-riding. “No, nothing,” he said. “Not even soccer, although I like to watch it.”

Franco returns to Mexico City periodically to visit, but has no intentions of staying on a permanent basis. “No it’s better here,” he said. “You can make more money, a better living.”

It’s better in the U.S., with one exception. “The food,” he said. “The food is better in Mexico.”

That thought brought him back to his original thought. What good is better food if you don’t have the money to buy it.

Despite nothing in his background to suggest Franco would one day make a good race-rider, he has done just fine in a very short time.

He finished tied for third with 75 wins competing in the very competitive jockey colony at Turf Paradise last winter. Friday night, he moved into sole possession of fifth place at Canterbury Friday night with his 15th win of the meet.

After which, his theme song played, of course.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Geovanni Franco – The Godfather

The grin stretches ear to ear whenever he hears the music, in response to the recognition but maybe too because it’s a reminder he’s just ridden another winner. Each time he enters the winner’s circle, track announcer Paul Allen starts the background music from the movie, the Godfather. The music has played a total of 15 times now.

“It’s OK. I like it,” said Geovanni Franco, 21, riding for the first time this summer at Canterbury Park.

Here’s the kicker to this particular tale. Franco was born and raised in Mexico City, has never been to Italy and needed to be told that the music accompanying each of his wins was from an American movie about Italian mobsters.

“Yeah, I know,” he said Friday night after bringing in Patch of Blue in the fourth race, his 15th win of the meet. “The Mafia.”

Franco was standing just inside the jockeys lounge talking about the win when the riders for the next race began strolling past him out the door.

“Hey, way to go, Godfather,” said Denny Velasquez, bumping fists with Franco.

A short time later, Lori Keith walked past, done for the night. “Hey, Geovanni,” she said, in her best, gruff Italian dialect.

Riding at Canterbury Park for the first time, in the U.S. only a couple of years, Geovanni Franco, just like that, has an identity that has absolutely nothing to do with his true heritage.

There is nothing in his background to suggest that he might one day become a jockey, either. “I have an uncle who’s a farrier,” he said. “He shoes jumpers.” That was Franco’s introduction to the horse world, and it evolved from there.

That was in Mexico City, and two years later Franco was riding at the city’s only thoroughbred track, the Hipodromo de Las Americas.

He was convinced to give Hastings Racecourse a try in Canada – the same place this year’s Kentucky Derby winning rider Mario Gutierrez got his start – in 2009 and wound up the track’s leading bug boy. His first winner, on a horse named Via Vennetto, came two months short of his 18th birthday.

“Then I went back to Mexico for five months,” he said.

Next, he gave Santa Anita a try. “I was there one month,” he said. “I won one race.”

That surprised him.

“I didn’t think it would be that tough,” he explained.

Then he went to San Francisco, back to Canada and home again to Mexico.

Everything changed in 2011 while he was racing in Northern California, at the Fair meets. He met Miguel Silva at the Santa Rosa meet.

“The very first race he won for me,” said Silva. “A horse named Itspartytime.”

A relationship developed quickly. When Silva returned to Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Franco went too. When Silva shipped his horses to Shakopee, Franco came along. “Wherever he goes, I go,” Franco said.

Franco has not been involved in a sport other than race-riding. “No, nothing,” he said. “Not even soccer, although I like to watch it.”

Franco returns to Mexico City periodically to visit, but has no intentions of staying on a permanent basis. “No it’s better here,” he said. “You can make more money, a better living.”

It’s better in the U.S., with one exception. “The food,” he said. “The food is better in Mexico.”

That thought brought him back to his original thought. What good is better food if you don’t have the money to buy it.

Despite nothing in his background to suggest Franco would one day make a good race-rider, he has done just fine in a very short time.

He finished tied for third with 75 wins competing in the very competitive jockey colony at Turf Paradise last winter. Friday night, he moved into sole possession of fifth place at Canterbury Friday night with his 15th win of the meet.

After which, his theme song played, of course.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Turf Chute Making a Return

It’s a minor detail to some, a big improvement to others, long overdue to a few and about to happen in any event. The subject at hand is the return of the chute on the grass course, abandoned sometime in the late 1990s primarily – according to Canterbury lore – because a number of riders objected to the dogleg turn onto the main track, a problem essentially only for horses without speed breaking out of the first two or three holes.

The consensus among the railbirds, though, is that the anomaly adds another element to the handicapping approach.

It doesn’t matter. “Chute racing” is about to return, delayed only by the arrival of a few more pieces to complete the necessary railing.

Track superintendent Ian Gamble explained that the original chute railing was used over the years to replace damaged pieces on the main track. The replacement railing has arrived with the exception of a few pieces. About 700 feet of railing, including 70 uprights and 70 pins at a cost of around $12,000, was needed to rebuild the chute.

Used for one mile and 1/16 races, the chute can reopen as quickly as the missing pieces arrive.

Gamble recalls some of the complaints riders lodged leading to closure of the chute.

“Basically, the riders didn’t like the cavalry charge out of the gate to get position as the field angled onto the main track,” he said. “I think some of them realize that there might be more of a hazard now because the main track is getting so chewed up moving the gate around.”

The chute gate can stay in place throughout the season.

Gamble says that the turf in the chute has gotten the same attention over the last five years given the main track. “When we aerated the main track, we did the chute too,” he said. “When we fertilized the track, we fertilized the grass in the chute, too.”

The gate leaves tire tracks as it’s moved around the course that turn yellow as the grass dries. That creates different reactions from different horses that are sometimes hazardous to all involved.

“To the horses it looks like a hole or a shadow. They don’t know whether to jump over it or stop,” said Canterbury Hall of Fame rider Derek Bell. “Sometimes they slow way down.”

Bell believes the racing will become safer once the chute is returned to use. “I like it,” he said. “I’d much rather start out of there. It’s safer for everyone. You can get position before we hit the first turn.”

Bell says the turn onto the main track is not a problem if the inner rail is not moved out too far. “If you move it out too far then you get that hook and that can be a little dangerous,” he said.

Gamble said the width of the course will probably be left at the full 70 feet with the chute in use.

Scott Stevens, Canterbury’s other active Hall of Fame rider, had a succinct response to the impending return of the chute.

“We have it. We might as well use it,” he said.

THE “ITALIAN” CONNECTION

Each time Geovanni Franco enters the winner’s circle, track announcer Paul Allen plays a piece of music from the Godfather and uses his best Marlon Brando impression on the sound system to imitate the marble-mouthed star of the hit film.

Franco cannot help grinning each time he hears the music.

He was grinning on three separate occasions Thursday night.

The hat trick got under way in the second race when Franco brought in Brite Dreamer for trainer Miguel Angel Silva.

Franco heard the music once again in race six when he brought in Vinny V., again for Silva.

Franco and Silva were smiling once more after race seven with Lucky High.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Over 11,000 Enjoy July 3rd Stakes

While human beings melted under the oppressive conditions while merely lifting a cold drink to their lips, horses named Tubby Time, Rare Sunset and Hollywood Trickster refused to wilt under any conditions Tuesday.

Tubby Time (pictured above) won the $50,000 Blair’s Cove Stakes for the second consecutive year, and Rare Sunset used her extra gear to repeal a challenge from Gold N Glamore in the final 1/16th to win the $50,000 Minnesota H.B.P.A. Mile. The Trickster ran in even more hot, humid conditions in the card opener, but won convincingly nonetheless in the $21,150 quarter horse Great Lakes Stakes

With even more oppressive conditions forecast, track officials postponed the Fourth of July card until Saturday, when everything originally planned for the occasion will take place, including the wiener dog races, hot-dog eating contest and free hot dogs.

“The health of both our equine and human athletes as well as our race fans is always our primary concern,” said track president/CEO Randy Sampson.

Derek Bell has struggled to find the winner’s circle this meet, but found it twice on Tuesday’s card, in the opening stakes on Hollywood Trickster (pictured below) and again in the Blair’s Cove with Tubby Time.

Tubby Time’s owner Jeff Larson sized up his horse’s chances in the paddock before the race. “We’ll see if he’s fit,” he said.

He wasn’t the last time out, on June 12, but that was his first race in a year. Trainer Mac Robertson had him tightened up nicely for Tuesday’s race and Tubby moved from mid-pack to the lead in the final half furlong, winning by 1 and ¼ lengths over Coconino Slim, by three lengths over Mack’s Blackhawk.

“Just like Darth Vader said, ‘it’s all too easy,’ ” Bell said with a grin.

The difference between this race and Tubby’s last one?

“I had twice as much horse,” Bell said.

Larson got his answer at the same time.

“He’s fit,” he said.

Rare Sunset (pictured above) won gate to wire and was in charge in the stretch drive until Gold N Glamore put a move on her in the final 1/16th.

But under Geovanni Franco, Rare Sunset rebroke, refused to give ground and finished ½ length in front.

Winning owner Jill Buffie had a firm reaction afterward. “Lady Canterbury, here we come,” she said, referring to the $100,000 race on Aug. 4.

Buffie has been with Rare Sunset since her two-year-old season. First she groomed the horse, later she bought her. How’s that for a racetrack dream come true.

Winning rider Geovanni Franco was surprised afterward that no one came after him, so he had the horse necessary to repel a stretch challenge.

Scott Stevens, who rode Gold N Glamore had a different analysis. “My horse ran a great race,” he said. “She hadn’t run in more than a year.”

More than 11,000 fans were in attendance to watch July 3rd racing at Canterbury. On track patrons bet $276,359 while off track customers wagered $832,176.

Blog Clarification

A recent article in which Scott Stevens was quoted did not include enough surrounding context to reflect his true intent.

He was quoted as saying that his mother didn’t care for his brother Gary’s character in the HBO series Luck and wouldn’t watch. “Hey, he was just playing himself,” Scott added.

The character, however, was prone to certain outrageous, drug-related behaviors that are not part of Gary’s personality in any way whatsoever.

Scott only meant to imply that Gary and the TV character were both competitive people with quick-tempered reactions at times.

The article did not include additional information that would have made that clear.

July 3 Festivities

Here’s a video recap of the July 3 Festivities:

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Video Credit: Jon Mikkelson & The Canterbury Park Television Department

Over 11,000 Enjoy July 3rd Stakes

While human beings melted under the oppressive conditions while merely lifting a cold drink to their lips, horses named Tubby Time, Rare Sunset and Hollywood Trickster refused to wilt under any conditions Tuesday.

Tubby Time (pictured above) won the $50,000 Blair’s Cove Stakes for the second consecutive year, and Rare Sunset used her extra gear to repeal a challenge from Gold N Glamore in the final 1/16th to win the $50,000 Minnesota H.B.P.A. Mile. The Trickster ran in even more hot, humid conditions in the card opener, but won convincingly nonetheless in the $21,150 quarter horse Great Lakes Stakes

With even more oppressive conditions forecast, track officials postponed the Fourth of July card until Saturday, when everything originally planned for the occasion will take place, including the wiener dog races, hot-dog eating contest and free hot dogs.

“The health of both our equine and human athletes as well as our race fans is always our primary concern,” said track president/CEO Randy Sampson.

Derek Bell has struggled to find the winner’s circle this meet, but found it twice on Tuesday’s card, in the opening stakes on Hollywood Trickster (pictured below) and again in the Blair’s Cove with Tubby Time.

Tubby Time’s owner Jeff Larson sized up his horse’s chances in the paddock before the race. “We’ll see if he’s fit,” he said.

He wasn’t the last time out, on June 12, but that was his first race in a year. Trainer Mac Robertson had him tightened up nicely for Tuesday’s race and Tubby moved from mid-pack to the lead in the final half furlong, winning by 1 and ¼ lengths over Coconino Slim, by three lengths over Mack’s Blackhawk.

“Just like Darth Vader said, ‘it’s all too easy,’ ” Bell said with a grin.

The difference between this race and Tubby’s last one?

“I had twice as much horse,” Bell said.

Larson got his answer at the same time.

“He’s fit,” he said.

Rare Sunset (pictured above) won gate to wire and was in charge in the stretch drive until Gold N Glamore put a move on her in the final 1/16th.

But under Geovanni Franco, Rare Sunset rebroke, refused to give ground and finished ½ length in front.

Winning owner Jill Buffie had a firm reaction afterward. “Lady Canterbury, here we come,” she said, referring to the $100,000 race on Aug. 4.

Buffie has been with Rare Sunset since her two-year-old season. First she groomed the horse, later she bought her. How’s that for a racetrack dream come true.

Winning rider Geovanni Franco was surprised afterward that no one came after him, so he had the horse necessary to repel a stretch challenge.

Scott Stevens, who rode Gold N Glamore had a different analysis. “My horse ran a great race,” he said. “She hadn’t run in more than a year.”

More than 11,000 fans were in attendance to watch July 3rd racing at Canterbury. On track patrons bet $276,359 while off track customers wagered $832,176.

Blog Clarification

A recent article in which Scott Stevens was quoted did not include enough surrounding context to reflect his true intent.

He was quoted as saying that his mother didn’t care for his brother Gary’s character in the HBO series Luck and wouldn’t watch. “Hey, he was just playing himself,” Scott added.

The character, however, was prone to certain outrageous, drug-related behaviors that are not part of Gary’s personality in any way whatsoever.

Scott only meant to imply that Gary and the TV character were both competitive people with quick-tempered reactions at times.

The article did not include additional information that would have made that clear.

July 3 Festivities

Here’s a video recap of the July 3 Festivities:

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Video Credit: Jon Mikkelson & The Canterbury Park Television Department

Certainty and a New Perspective

Atmosphere, environment, ambience, milieu… whatever your choice of words to describe it, the air is definitely lighter these days, and nights, at Canterbury Park. It has everything to do with the certainty of a job down the road and a paycheck to go with it.

Ask any trainer on the grounds and the response is almost identical. The racing at Canterbury Park, with the support of their new partners at Mystic Lake, is going to thrive over the next decade, even during this time of widespread uncertainty and decline in the industry nationwide.

There is a lot to be gleeful about, and veteran Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens, counted out by even close friends after a devastating injury last year, summed it up best, for himself and everyone else at the Shakopee track Friday night.

Stevens, 51, is riding as if he’s 31 and moved into third place in the rider standings with a scintillating victory aboard longshot Hurricane Houston in the fourth race, a mile and 1/16 event on the turf.

Another jump and Aroney and Tanner Riggs would have had the winner, but the racetrack ended right there with Hurricane nosing him out.

“This is starting to get fun again,” Stevens said, bounding into the jockey lounge.

Fun for a lot of folks.

Ask Claudia Goebel. Lori Keith took her Vic Hanson-trained Speakers Action (pictured above) to a gate to wire victory in the fifth race, a six-furlong claiming event, winning with lengths to spare.

The win couldn’t have come at a more apropos time. The Goebel family has seven horses at Canterbury this summer and already has recorded five wins. Marlys Goebel, the family matriarch, is being honored this week by the Minnesota HBPA for her life-time involvement in state racing.

The Goebels lost the family patriarch, Alvin, last winter, so every win at Canterbury this summer includes a silent tribute to the father and grandfather who, with his wife, Marlys , is enshrined in the track’s Hall of Fame.

Dan and Bev Mjolsness are also Hall of Fame breeders and lifelong friends of the Goebels. They were in the winner’s circle for the family’s celebratory photo.

“That’s the only way we get there these days,” Bev quipped. “I have to hang out with winners to get there,” Dan added.

Keith and Hanson teamed up for another win in the sixth race, although she took a different route to the winner’s circle this time, guiding Gordon Drive from the back of the pack in the final furlong to catch Mogilny and Stevens at the wire.

The third race on Friday’s card was a maiden event at 7 and ½ furlongs on the grass. Newcomer Carlos Castro guided Up in Class to a gate to wire win for the Bravos, trainer Francisco and owner Lori.

“That was a nice ride,” Francisco said, somewhat baffled at the large turnout in the winners circle for the picture. Who were all those people? “Oh, I hired them,” Bravo said. “I need the friends.”

That’s the kind of fun it has become for many of the horsemen in Shakopee.

Talk to trainer Bruce Riecken or owner Anthony Didier, whose horses won the daily double. Canterbury Hall of Fame rider Derek Bell brought in Champ Laila in the first race. Adolfo Morales was on 11-1 choice Trust N You in the second race.

Or talk to Ruben Martinez, the track’s leading owner, whose Clear to Canada won race seven under Geovanni Franco.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

The 2012 Jockey Colony

Several new faces join the Canterbury jockey colony this season and should fit well with the established riders that include Derek Bell, Dean Butler, Scott Stevens, Lori Keith et al.

Tanner Riggs makes his return to Shakopee and will be handled by agent Richard Grunder who also books mounts for Juan Rivera.

Larren Delorme moves to the big oval after riding regularly on the bullrings of Nebraska.

Geovanni Franco tied for third in the Turf Paradise standings in the recently concluded meet and should see plenty of action for trainer Miguel Silva who reportedly will have nearly 50 horses here.

Agent and former rider Chuck Costanzo adds Olaf Hernandez from Mountaineer to his stable of pilots that also includes bug-boy Denny Velazquez and a veteran who has not been here for some time, Bobby Walker Jr.

Jose Rivera Jr. is a New Mexico import who will share an agent with Luis Robletto.

While agent Pete Antonucci racks up wins with his rider Dean Butler, the early favorite to win his fourth consecutive riding title, he also will book mounts for Carlos Castro, a winner of 877 career races who most recently rode at Hawthorne.

This is hardly a complete list as many quarter horse jocks will arrive in the coming weeks as well.

Get to know your riders and the barns they work for as it can make a difference when handicapping.

This blog was written by Canterbury Media Relations Manager Jeff Maday. Maday has filled multiple positions including Media Relations and Player Relations Manager since the track’s reopening in 1995.

The 2012 Jockey Colony

Several new faces join the Canterbury jockey colony this season and should fit well with the established riders that include Derek Bell, Dean Butler, Scott Stevens, Lori Keith et al.

Tanner Riggs makes his return to Shakopee and will be handled by agent Richard Grunder who also books mounts for Juan Rivera.

Larren Delorme moves to the big oval after riding regularly on the bullrings of Nebraska.

Geovanni Franco tied for third in the Turf Paradise standings in the recently concluded meet and should see plenty of action for trainer Miguel Silva who reportedly will have nearly 50 horses here.

Agent and former rider Chuck Costanzo adds Olaf Hernandez from Mountaineer to his stable of pilots that also includes bug-boy Denny Velazquez and a veteran who has not been here for some time, Bobby Walker Jr.

Jose Rivera Jr. is a New Mexico import who will share an agent with Luis Robletto.

While agent Pete Antonucci racks up wins with his rider Dean Butler, the early favorite to win his fourth consecutive riding title, he also will book mounts for Carlos Castro, a winner of 877 career races who most recently rode at Hawthorne.

This is hardly a complete list as many quarter horse jocks will arrive in the coming weeks as well.

Get to know your riders and the barns they work for as it can make a difference when handicapping.

This blog was written by Canterbury Media Relations Manager Jeff Maday. Maday has filled multiple positions including Media Relations and Player Relations Manager since the track’s reopening in 1995.