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View From The VOX……The Jockey

Jockey Dean Butler is a Canterbury Hall of Famer. He has won five riding titles, and if he has the animal underneath him has been one of the more reliable riders I have seen in my time calling races at Canterbury Park.

I asked “H.O.F” the other day a question about riding turf races. The way I have described it for

Dean Butler with track announcer Paul Allen in 2016
Dean Butler with track announcer Paul Allen in 2016

years is much of main-track racing — especially sprints — is like speed metal, or Metallica-like stuff. Pop the gate, chirp, coerce, get after it, save some, push for home.
Turf racing, though, to me is like a symphony where many components mesh to make a quality production — drafting, lonely leaders don’t always win, fact that not every horse takes to the sod, bigger fields, etc..

James Hetfield versus Beethoven — Symphony 3.

Butler said this: “I like the turf more because you have to be more patient, save ground, and you have to have a clock in your head to know how fast they are going. On the dirt speed carries more. You have to use your head and experience more on the turf.”

Francisco Arrieta

To wit, Francisco Arrieta is one of the best riders at Canterbury and makes quality cash wherever he rides because he’s very talented. Shoot, according to Equibase numbers Arrieta-guided runners are on pace to earn more than $2 million this year, and he doesn’t ride regularly at the bigger tracks. That’s winning a bunch of races.

On the turf, though, Francisco has had his troubles with some rides this season, and maybe that facet of his promising career is still a work in progress? In 2018, though, Francisco won 27 percent of his turf races, and 20 percent last year. If I, however, like an Arrieta horse on the dirt as much as one on the turf I’ll bet bigger on the dirt proposition because that seems to be his game. Maybe it’s just me? Lol.

The turf racing at Canterbury always has been compelling, and the Lady Canterbury year after year is my favorite race.

We race Monday-Thursday at 4:30 pm and we’d love to see you. Canterbury is very respectful of safety measures, and the place is massive so it’s easy to find your own spot and handicap your way to a massive Pick 4 score.

Learn more about that and attain entry at