Goodwin Seeks First Northlands Futurity Victory

Jockey Nik Goodwin has accomplished much during his quarter horse racing career at Canterbury Park. The native of Bemidji, Minn. is the all-time leader in wins, 140, and in purse earnings, $1.59 million, in the history of Canterbury Park and Downs. Goodwin was late to the party this year, not arriving until the end of July. He rode the entire 12-race quarter horse card on July 28 and won four times, including the first three races, hitting the board in three more and quickly reminding racing fans that might have forgotten that he indeed is the quarter horse king of Shakopee.

“It was nice to get back to riding and to win right away,” Goodwin said that evening. “It was a nice return back to Canterbury and my home state.”

Goodwin has won many stakes on both thoroughbreds and quarter horses but one missing from his resume is the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, tonight’s sixth race. He will ride A Fabulos Painting, the second fastest qualifier for the meet’s richest quarter horse race trained by the track’s top conditioner Jason Olmstead who has six of the 10 horses in the final. Olmstead fancies A Fabulos Painting and said that if the 2-year-old, who may finally be putting things together, remains composed “he can outrun them all.” Olmstead knows a little about winning this Futurity. He has done so four of the past five years.

A Fabulos Painting got his first win that night with Goodwin up. He had missed the board in three prior starts. One of the speedy gelding’s owners, track announcer Paul Allen, is thrilled. “I love it. To have the winningest rider in the history of the track and the only one in four starts to get this horse to win is fantastic.”

Goodwin likes his chances and will try to deliver for the connections and notch his belt with a first Northlands Futurity victory. “He broke well last time,” Goodwin said. “He drew a good post for this race. He can win.”

View From The VOX….. Those Satisfactions Are Permanent

The old dog (me) was taught a new trick.

I have been a racehorse owner for 21 years and have been part of many groups with many interesting people.

Through the 15 or so I have owned I never have had a week where two of my horses won! It happened this week (new trick), and it was awesome.

My first big boss at KFAN Mick Anselmo and I started Gucci Stables in 1999, and from there I have owned horses with former Vikes OC Norv Turner, current Vikes trainer Eric Sugarman, etc.

Got current Vikes coach Mike Zimmer involved last year when we claimed a mare named Jeana Baby for $7,500. She never got Zimm a win, and my sometimes-crotchety friend lets me know about that at least once a month.

Well the old head coach can pipe down for a little while because a horse we claimed with Double A Gap Group partnership for $12,500 won first time out for us Thursday, and it was mostly joyous.

Mike couldn’t be at Canterbury to witness the win live, but we FaceTimed him from the

Cave Run & Double A Gap Group

paddock and winner’s circle. I could tell it was bugging him he wasn’t here for the fun and was elated the horse won but pissed off he wasn’t in attendance.

Sometimes I swear Zimm could win a Super Bowl and right after the game he’d be upset a young corner gave up inside leverage on a big play. Lol.

Mike and I are donating our profits from the winner Cave Run to charity, and he won a $25k purse under a picture-perfect ride by Alonso Quinonez.

Coach, of course, wouldn’t know what the picture looks like because he wasn’t there to witness the domination.

A Fabulos Painting

Tuesday a quarter horse I co-own with Minnesota Wild goalie Alex Stalock won a time-trial race and qualified for the August 11 Mystic Lake Northland’s Futurity. A Fabulos Painting was 0-for-3 into the race, popped the gate like a champ and qualified for the $87,000 race.

The beauty of owning this 2 year old is he went from never finishing better than fifth to probably being favored to win the $87k Northlands. So sweet yet so weird.

Horse ownership is not something into which people dive to make a ton of cash. Honestly most horse owners lose in the end. But the thrill of owning your own horse, thinking about the race all day and bringing family and friends to the track to sweat the race are memories I will forever cherish.

If interested in owning one for which you can root at Canterbury contact Joe Scurto at

I’ll see you in the winner’s circle!


View from the VOX … Emerging Trends at Canterbury Park

Four-day piece this week with some emerging trends and talkers that can lead us to money playing the races at Canterbury Park. Secure a spot on track via, and the card casino is fully operable with Blackjack, etc. and Texas Hold ‘Em. Good food at Trifecta, too, and my son Derek runs the cafe five evenings a week. Say “Hi,” he’s a sweet kid.

Identifying cycles in horse racing is key. Trainers, riders, horses, prices of winning horses, field sizes, legit probability of heavy favorites crushing during Pick 4/5 sequences, all of that. Last week at CBY the final two days the Pick 5 paid $333 Wednesday and $152 to close-the-week Thursday. Our Pick 5 is a 50-cent wager, so Pasadena City College math means that’s like 666-to-1 and 304-to-1 on your money, which are terrific returns if you “singled” in every race.

Nobody hits Pick 5s singling every race, and that gets us to the meat of the week: Seems the CBY trend with some smaller fields is short-priced horses are dominating, and we as Pick 5 Playing Nation need to adjust accordingly and find routes to smack that big pool with the non-obvious.

Maybe with the CBY Pick 5 the route is minimal horses in races there’s a favorite of like 8-to-5 or lower, and in races like last Thursday that led to a modest $152 Pick 5 payoff use as many as needed. In the finale Thursday Ry Eikleberry, absolutely one of our best two riders, scored for a $15.20 win pay, which is not like a super long shot by any stretch. Horse figured, was included in my 5, but I busted out earlier.

*IN-STORY ASIDE OFF THAT LAST BIT … $15.20 FOR A $2 WIN BET PERSONIFIES THE BEAUTY OF PARIMUTUEL WAGERING …. So, last Tuesday I mash our Pick 4s and 5, and I’m in good! Got bounced from all of it. Negative. So, Analyst B.A. had a few horses to close a sequence play, and his legit big hit was the horse I selected, Courting Moonlight, a late-running type trained by HOF Bernell Rhone. So, I’m like “bleep it, I’ll ride with you main man.” Put rest of my dwindling voucher to win and place on Courting Moonlight. Horse ambled home from last, cascaded by them all and paid $16.60 to win and $11.20 in the middle.

One play. One scoop. From down $400 and in for six to plus a grand and small change in one swipe is what our game is all about. The ability to strikeout the first three plate attempts then, BAM, game-winning HR final at bat. Just love it.


So, I guess the way I see Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week going with the CBY Pick 4s and 5 is I’ll be playing smaller tickets using more “off favorites” and playing the tickets multiple times. I’ll take a peek at that next racing week and see what it looks like. Didn’t include Tuesday in the mix because that’s Qs-day, which is a quarter horse extravaganza and the film watching — the All 22 — from previous races absolutely is a winning route of attack.

Point is I and others have been spreading too aggressively in races the favorite keeps winning. So let’s non-obvious the bit and roll with smaller tickets multiple times and follow which riders are dominating the week.

Given we have had an exodus of riders the last week give long looks to Roimes Chirinos, Israel Hernandez, Leslie Mawing and Alonso Quinonez if/when they get hot. They’ll pick up barns, and if the shed row gets hot the riders make money and hit hot streaks. Saw it all week last week.

Chew on these:

Chirinos has ridden five stakes races and won two, tied for most stakes wins “in the room.”

For whatever the reason Mawing is 1-for-29 in routes.

Eikleberry is our leading rider by two wins over Francisco Arrieta. Ry is steady, and that’s what I like about him. Even-keeled kid, even-keeled rider. He wins 26 percent on the dirt, 18 on the grass and gets favorites home first 40 percent of the time, which is a big number.

Nearing the midway point of the Truncated CBY Season … come say “hey” when you get a chance.

“Black Sheep” To Boss

He won the race of life and won it by open lengths. Secretariat-like, as a matter of fact. And what a journey it must have been.

Curtis Sampson, co-owner and longtime Canterbury Park Chairman, died peacefully at his Hector home Thursday. He was 87 years old and survived by his wife Marian, daughter Susan, sons Randall, Paul and Russ “The Big Wheel,” 11 grandchildren and eight great grand kids. Curt lived his entire life in Hector. Marian was by his side at death, holding his hand until the final breath.

This vibrant, smart, kind, loving, giving man went from running around ball fields of rural

Curt Sampson

Minnesota in the ’50s to starting successful companies like C.S.I. and Hector Communications to purchasing a shuttered Canterbury Downs in 1994 with son Randy and St. Paul’s Dale Schenian. From there, as longtime Canterbury media-relations guru Jeff Maday puts it, “He and the Sampsons established a legacy of fun at Canterbury Park. A place to have fun, man. A place to bring your kids.”

Winning the race of life is arduous, unless you’re Curtis in 2012 at Dana Kiecker Field in Fairfax hurling fastballs to a town ball team in a game that counts. They hit some shots off his fastball, but he competed and had the time of his life. That was Curt in a nutshell — competing, laughing, loving, hugging and giving extravagantly that night and, honestly, all his life to make sure many received opportunity and had “fun, man.”

“Boss” would pitch for years to Twins greats at Twins Fantasy Camp in Fort Myers. Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven was a frequent attendee at the camp and was very close to Curtis.

“What a loving, giving man,” Bert told me the afternoon Curtis died. “He paid for every member of his family who wanted to go. Family was everything to him. I’ll never forget the year Curt was like 82 and he was pitching to his grandson Joe, who was the catcher. Curtis was so proud.”

Employees and/or fans of Canterbury Park should be “proud” to have known Curtis Sampson or if you never met him recognize there is no Canterbury Park without Curtis, who also bred and raced horses for decades, and they were winners of some of our biggest races and for years dominated Festival of Champions Day.

Son Randy, Canterbury’s President, informed me of Curt’s death via text at 2:28 p.m. this awful, heartbreaking Thursday: “Curt is gone, brother. The race is over. I’m off to Hector.”

My response: “As you grieve on your drive home, brother, know he won that race by a million lengths. What a great man. Love you guys.”

If Heaven is the Winner’s Circle following the race of life Curtis Sampson is smiling in that win photo, and we all are better people for knowing him.

May God rest your soul, beloved boss.

As you would call me,

“Black Sheep”


View From the VOX……Can You Believe This?

The Lady Canterbury is my favorite race at Canterbury Park, and this year’s rendition came up good.

The Lady C, Northbound Pride Oaks, Mystic Lake Mile, Mystic Lake Derby and Honor the Hero are the marquee events for today’s Canterbury Park Turf Festival. Racing commences at 4:30 pm, and tickets can be secured here at the website.

It’s easy to “honor the hero” when reminiscing about the Lady Canterbury. K Z Bay’s the name, and upsetting the 1997 cast at 32-to-1 is the game. Eliminating the horses I have owned K Z Bay is my all-time favorite CBY horse.

At 17 “hands” she was as beautiful a horse as you’d ever see. The “behemoth mare” looked like a colt, and was super muscular. She may have intimidated foes into defeat before her races started due to her imposing physique.

She was owned and trained by the late Bob Ryno of tiny Wood, S. D. Ryno I don’t think ever had a string of horses that was greater than two, but when you own K Z Bay you really just needed one.

That’s part of what makes the Canadian-bred mare’s legend so compelling – it shows even a farmer from Nowhere, South Dakota can realize dreams and win a signature race. K Z Bay was everything to Bob Ryno, and she absolutely became a fan favorite.

She dominated the 1997 Lady Canterbury and was ridden to perfection by Paul Nolan. She finished her career 8-for-17 at Canterbury, and the daughter of Charlie Barley and Golden Seal would race until 1998.

KZ Bay, as we say around these parts, was a “Canterbury Classic.”


Maybe the one Firstmate, 12-to-1 on the morning line, can be the 2020 version of K Z Bay? She’s owned by Barry and Joni Butzow of Eden Prairie, horse owners for decades who never have won the Lady Canterbury. Too, a Minnesota-bred never has won this marquee race.

Firstmate, a Minnesotan, just won the $50k Minnesota Turf Distaff under a wonderful ride by new CBY rider Roimes Chirinos.

Interestingly, Chirinos jumps off Firstmate to guide Beach Flower, the defending champ. She’s 8-to-1 on the morning line and is trained by Mac Robertson, the most dominating trainer in the history of this track.

The morning-line favorite is Weekend Envelope, a filly shipping in from Churchill Downs with earnings of $220,858.

View from the VOX….. Let’s Make Some Money!

Another four-day racing week at Canterbury starts this afternoon at 4:30, which means chip, chair and chance you could win $85,000 on a 50-cent play. Not that it happened that way, but last Wednesday we paid out a Pick 5 record $85,340.No idea how much winner(s) invested to find a 46-to-1 early, a 6-to-1 in the middle who was 0-for-3 on the turf and hadn’t even hit the board yet that day charges home like freaking Honor The Hero, and Peacock Cowboy, who I, too, fancied, at 14-to-1 to cap the score.

Well done.

But as the kids might say these days, Thursday rolled along and said “hold my beer.”

One winning Pick 5 ticket again, and one, record-setting payoff of $98k and high change.

Just fascinating the newbies who have found CBY and are getting involved. Loving it because I already am seeing early season wagering pool trends develop per the field size, etc. a given day/week.

It’s a $98k score. Again, well done!

What truly is well done, though, is given we rolled the dice this truncated, surreal-experience-of-a-season, the 10 percent “rake” on the 50-cent Pick 5 is the lowest in the country. Less for us, more for you. Pros covet, request and bet that all the time when they actually get it, right?

Wednesday’s pool was like $95k, scoop 85 Large. I believe Pick 5 takeout nationwide goes from us at 10 percent maybe up to 20 percent for the house to pay the bills.

So, say the Pick 5 “rake” at “I Swear Tabia Stopped Downs” is 18 percent, Canterbury being at 10 percent just housed the Wednesday Winners like seven grand and change. Thursday’s extra scoop was better than that.

No “Thank You” card with a voucher in it required.

The “sharps” nationwide are following us daily, and the handicapping competition abroad never has been tougher. We race Monday-Thursday 4:30 p.m. to like 9, and people have settled into post-quarantine with new habits and like finding value in Minnesota, Manitoba or Mars. Twenty six years I’ve called races here, and the outstate action is so juicy when we have the right kinds of races I’m jazzed to call them for the newbies in the crowd. Just loving it. if you want to join one day. Let’s make some money this week!

View From The Vox…… Fireworks Edition

Yep, UUUGGGHHH! This Friday was supposed to be our big Kwik Trip Fireworks Extravaganza, but that’s off.

And Saturday the Fourth more fireworks, maybe free hot dogs, Gus and the hot dog-eating contest, whatever.


Welcome to a surreal, ever-changing 2020, friends, and even though a combined 35,000 people minimum would have been at Canterbury spreading the love and having fun those days, we persevere and pine for the day we see u again. That day will arrive, too.

Meanwhile, we race Monday-Thursday next week beginning at 430 pm, and you can grab tickets here.

Have a great holiday weekend!


View From The Vox

by Paul Allen  Track Announcer

Hey racing fans, welcome to our first four-day racing week of the truncated 2020 Canterbury Park season.

Our leading rider is Ry Eikleberry with 10 wins. Last week, a three-day piece, past champion rider Jareth Loveberry won five times, most in the ‘room. J Love’s work on the turf has been splendid, and the ride he gave Minnesotan Maywood Hope was a thing of beauty. That race is worth a watch.  [ June 17 race 7  ]

Horse racing is a cyclical game, and when riders get hot they stay hot for a patch.

Interestingly, the most dominant trainer in Canterbury Park or Downs lore is Mac Robertson, and into this week his barn is 3 of 24 BUT has earnings of $127,000, which is tops amongst trainers.

As always we’d love to see u at Canterbury, and tickets can be acquired here.

The “A Team” Making Memories

By Mari Ballinger

The “A Team.” Canterbury’s 25-year announcer Paul Allen says it every time he and fourth-year paddock analyst Brian Arrigoni handicap Canterbury races for the public. The “A Team.” The Announcer and the Analyst. Allen and Arrigoni.

The ultimate Canterbury duo. Whether they are playing blackjack before a long day of racing or betting against each other in the press box, they are always winners when they are together.

The 2019 racing season started May 3 with a blue sky, shining sun and eight races. Since then, Canterbury has hosted dog races, the Indian Horse Relay, Twin Cities Summer Jam, the Minnesota Festival of Champions, and inducted four incredible individuals into the Hall of Fame.

Hundreds of memories, but two in particular stand out to the “A Team.”

For Allen, it was the Father’s Day tradition of co-calling race 5 with his 18-year old son Derek. Derek has worked in the food and beverage department at Canterbury since he was 14.

A quick lunch break turned into an unforgettable moment between father and son.

“That was so special,” explains Allen. “He is my best friend. I love that kid.” Derek recently moved to Arizona where he is attending Grand Canyon University as a freshman this fall.

While the Allen household suddenly got a lot quieter, the Arrigoni home is the complete opposite. On August 14, Arrigoni welcomed his first-born son Vincent Brian Arrigoni into the world. On August 30, at just 16 days old Vinny made his debut at Canterbury Park, although he wasn’t allowed to bet quite yet.

“I loved that day,” said Arrigoni. “My dad used to bring me to the horse track all the time when I was young, and now I get to do that with Vinny. It makes me smile.”

It’s only fitting that the press box gifted Arrigoni and baby a onesie that reads ‘Eat. Sleep. Horse racing.”

As the season comes to a close, it is heartwarming to look back and see how much Canterbury Park impacts people’s lives. From horses winning as a longshot to spending quality time with family, the racing industry is something special.

And Saturday will be all she wrote for the 2019 Canterbury Park racing season.

Minnesota Festival of Champions

The 26th Minnesota Festival of Champions takes place tomorrow at Canterbury Park. The special event debuted in 1992 to pay tribute to the Minnesota horse breeding industry, and acts as the unofficial celebration of the Canterbury Park live racing season.

“Festival day is like the Championship game of the season,” said trainer Bernell Rhone, winner of 20 festival races. “You spend all year getting ready for this day, the money is good, and the different categories really help each horse succeed individually. It’s a very special day.”

But, why?

Why is the Minnesota Festival of Champions so memorable to Canterbury Park and its members?

For jockey Derek Bell, it’s all about the competition. “There are a lot of nice horses that day,” said Bell. “I consider myself lucky each time I get to ride on festival day.” Bell is the most winning jockey in Festival history with 24 wins.

“A lot of good riders, trainers, owners and breeders participate in the Minnesota Festival of Champions,” added jockey agent Chad Anderson, who won seven festival races when he was a jockey. “It makes for a very fun and exciting day of racing at Canterbury Park.”

Track announcer Paul Allen loves how it reveals true dedication.  “The day is all about Minnesota. Having been here a quarter century calling races I have a high level of respect, adoration and love for those who have been through the battles to keep racing strong at Canterbury,” he said. “This is a day many of those people get a chance to compete and get paid. It’s our State Tournament for Minnesotans and forever will be my favorite day we present.”

Festival Day will offer record purses this year with each thoroughbred stakes race, and there are six of them, worth $100,000. The quarter horse Futurity and Derby will each pay more than $55,000.

It’s more than the money, though. The Minnesota Festival of Champions was created to send a message to the Minnesota horse industry and the owners of the state’s only pari-mutuel facility; the message that there is still a market for horse racing in the state.

“When the first Festival took place in 1992, it proved that there was still an interest in horse racing among Minnesotans,” said Clerk of Course Peggy Davis. “It’s always so fun to see everyone at the track enjoying the races.”

As Canterbury Park and the state’s breeding industry continue to expand, the excitement of racing on Festival day continues to grow as well.