Canterbury Park, Shakopee, Minn logo

Grunder The Agent Always In The Mix

Richard Grunder has been a fixture at Canterbury Park since 1985. Many know him as the race calling voice of Tampa Bay Downs, others as an extraordinary jockey agent in Shakopee. A race meet here would not be the same without him. Grunder has been involved in racing his entire life, calling races, grooming horses and booking mounts.  His quote about falling into the jockey agent business goes something like this: “I found out you only needed two things to be an agent, a condition book and a pencil. And the condition book was free.”

People across the country know Grunder. Racing is a tightly-knit community. He has done much good here over the years, handling business for six-time leading rider Derek Bell in the first decade of this century and also winning titles with Tanner Riggs in 2012 and Jareth Loveberry in 2017.

Grunder plans to return this summer to Shakopee as an agent, balancing his duties at the now extended Tampa Bay Downs meet. He will have two riders new to him and for the most part to trainers here. A challenge however has never deterred the veteran race caller who has many connections and always finds a way into the major races at Canterbury. To that end will handle the business of jockey Alonso Quinonez.

The Quinonez surname is familiar to longtime fans of Canterbury as his older brother Luis won five consecutive riding titles here beginning in 1995 and was inducted into the Canterbury Hall of Fame. But Alonso, whose career began in 2006, won’t need to trade on his brother’s name. He is an accomplished journeyman, winner of 11 graded races including five Grades 1s. He had an incredible run, when based in Southern California, aboard Intangaroo, winning the Santa Monica Handicap, Humana Distaff, and Ballerina, all G1 races, before finishing sixth in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

“His credentials speak for themselves,” Grunder said. “Alonso handles himself professionally on and off the track.”  Not unlike brother Luis who was a fan and owner favorite. “He’s a very, very good grass rider as well,” Grunder said.

Grunder also will have the book of apprentice Miguel Arroyo who has won 9 of 132 career starts and most recently rode at Gulfstream Park. “He’s a good kid, just starting,” Grunder said. “He can get the job done. It’s just a matter of getting a shot.” Arroyo arrived in Minnesota Tuesday, with Quinonez expected shortly.

Richard Grunder is a cool cat. A cat that always lands on his feet. He has lost riders, gained riders, fired riders and been fired. This season will be another fresh start. “I’m just thrilled that we will be racing,” he said.  Will Quinonez find the winner’s circle quickly when action begins June 10? You can put a Q around it.

Horse Racing At Canterbury Park One Stride Closer Following Executive Order

Racetracks allowed to conduct races with no spectators; MRC Expected To Act June 8

The reality of a racing season at Canterbury Park beginning June 10 received a crucial consent Wednesday when Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-63 allowing racetracks to conduct horse races, without spectators, under the regulation of the Minnesota Racing Commission. The MRC is expected to approve Canterbury’s amended schedule request at a June 8 meeting. The season would commence June 10 and run 52 race dates through Sept. 16.

The order also states that tracks must adhere to various requirements including development and implementation of a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Canterbury officials implemented such a plan when opening the horse stabling area on May 8 and have developed additional plans, meeting all requirements, for the running of a race day.

The order in part reads as follows:

Class A and B licensed racetracks, subject to regulation by the Minnesota Racing Commission, may open their licensed facilities for the running of regulated horse races on which legal pari-mutuel wagering is allowed. Other commercial racetracks may open their facilities to run auto, motorcycle, or other similar races otherwise permitted by law. Nothing in this Executive Order should be construed to allow for patrons or spectators at a racetrack. Facilities must adhere to the following:

A. All establishments must adhere to the requirements set forth in paragraph 7.e of this order, including development and implementation of a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in accordance with applicable guidance available at DEED’s guidance website (

B. The total number of workers facilitating the event (including all persons licensed by the Minnesota Racing Commission, owners, drivers, pit crews, or other support personnel) must not exceed 250 persons in single self-contained space.