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John Mentz – from horse player to horse owner

John Mentz -  9-1-16

By Megan Johnson

John Mentz, a multiple stakes winning owner, has always loved the racetrack. John started coming to Canterbury in the late 80s where he picked a few winners and got hooked on the game. “Canterbury is also a special place because I took my wife to the track on our second date,” John said. Since then it has turned into a frequent outing for the two of them.

In 2000, John got into owning horses when he and a friend decided to start claiming horses. Today he mostly buys younger horses, but still claims a few every now and then. He currently has 20 horses in total, 13 of them are with various partnerships and he owns the other seven on his own. All of his horses are in training with Mac Robertson at Canterbury or with Mac’s father, Hugh Robertson, at Arlington.

“One of my favorite memories was when Secret Squall, one of our first winning horses, won the Claiming Crown Iron Horse at Canterbury,” he explained. “He was a $5,000 claimer from Chicago and won at 10 to 1 odds. We had the winner’s circle filled with friends and family; it’s always fun to have a long shot win.”

Throughout the past 16 years John has learned a lot while owning horses but the biggest lesson he has learned was to have trust in the trainer of his horses and the others that work with his horses. “I’m out here a lot but I’m not working with my horses on the backside, so it’s important to have trust in your trainer in order for things to work out the best they can,” he said.

When John isn’t spending his time at the racetrack he stays busy working for an insurance company in St. Paul, golfing, and traveling to many different destinations with his wife Amy. They enjoy traveling to different racetracks across the country and attending the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup.