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.