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Canterbury’s Pillars of the Turf

By Noah Joseph

This week, much of the racing world will converge on Saratoga for the Whitney Stakes. The Whitney is one of America’s most prestigious races, but this year’s edition holds a somber piece. The racing world lost an icon recently in Marylou Whitney, who passed away at age 95. The heiress was a popular icon in the racing world and owned top horses like Birdstone and Bird Town. Marylou was one of Saratoga’s most honored members, and every track has their own. With that in mind, here are some of Canterbury’s most honored members.

The Sampsons, both Curt and Randy, are on the list for multiple reasons. Not only did they help bring racing back to Minnesota, but they also have owned several top runners. Horses like Wally’s Choice, Lt. Sampson, Double Bee Sting, and Samdanya among others have carried success in the distinctive red and white Sampson silks. Whether it be in track management or horse ownership, the Sampsons are a prime example of excellence in racing.

Like the Sampsons, Dale Schenian was another individual who helped racing in Shakopee who has also had success owning horses. He’s owned two champions in Crocrock and Hold for More, but there are more top horses and fan favorites to boot. Other well-known runners for Mr. Dale (his nickname at the track) include Pensador, Familiar Rhythm, and the Chilean bred stalwart Lloron Jotace. Mr. Schenian is another vital piece to racing and his contributions will be remembered for years to come.

Barry and Joni Butzow have horses across the Midwest and are recognized around the country, yet they have had a strong influence in Shakopee for many years. They have raced home breds here that were born in Kentucky and Minnesota, and several runners have had large amounts of success at Canterbury. Top runners like Bryan’s Jewel, Picko’s Pride, Zero Gravity, Sirenusa, Firstmate, Lovango, Calypso Run, Joni’s Justice, and Sir Tricky have all won or placed at Canterbury during their careers. In fact, Sir Tricky is a member of the Canterbury Hall of Fame. The Butzows also have a future star in Nautical Gem, who won a maiden race here on Sunday. Whether it be owning or breeding, the Butzows are an important factor to the success of racing in Minnesota.

There are many other personalities that have helped make racing in Minnesota what it is today. However there isn’t enough time to name them all. But one thing is clear from all of this; it takes many people to make a racetrack successful, and Canterbury is a prime example of this. The people who did this will be remembered for years and years, but for now, let’s thank and appreciate them for helping to make Canterbury one of the best tracks in the world.