MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — He’s the voice of the Vikings, as well as at Canterbury Park.
And now, Paul Allen is bringing both together, leading a group of purple personnel to team up and own a race horse at Canterbury Park.
The Sport of Kings is now the Sport of Vikings.
“There had been a fair amount (of Vikings personnel) that had voiced interest in getting in on a horse partnership,” Allen said.
So Allen put a group together this spring – including offensive coordinator Norv Turner, quarterbacks coach Scott Turner, offensive lineman Brandon Fusco and head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman, as well as pro hockey goalie Alex Stalock – and bought a horse, named Tiger D.
Friday night at Canterbury Park is his first race for his new owners.
“I guess I run the risk,” Allen said, “of bringing people into a partnership where if things don’t work out the way we hope it works out, then I’ll go through an entire 2016 season getting teased by people with whom I work.”
Norv Turner has been an avid horseplayer his whole life — even owned a small stake in a horse once before, when he was in San Diego — and has been a frequent fixture at Canterbury since coming to Minnesota.
“It’s just exciting to be involved with it,” Turner said. “And we’re looking forward to watching it run.”
Tiger D cost $16,000, and the partners split the fee six ways – with Allen pitching in $6,000 and the other five investing $2,000 each.
“It’s exciting,” Turner said. “Those close finishes, you’re yelling and screaming. And if you’ve got one that’s in it, you’re encouraging it.”
Allen expects a large contingent of Vikings personnel is expected at Canterbury Park Friday night, to watch, cheer, support and bet.
“Tiger D is kind of a high-strung horse, he’s not something that’s real laid back, he’s aggressive,” said the horse’s trainer, Bernell Rhone. “I like his bloodlines. I like the people that had him. They take very good care of the horse. I knew he was sound. So, it’s just like getting an athlete, he was in pretty good shape.”
That’s certainly something Turner can relate to.
“It’s competitive,” he said of his enjoyment of the sport. “The horses are great, they’re fun to watch.”
Allen has owned horses at Canterbury before, but this is the first time he’s done so with personnel from the Vikings. For everyone else in the ownership group, it’s their very first time as horse owners.
“The experience of owning a horse, being able to come back here to the backside, feed the horses, bring your family members, hopefully get some winners circle photos out of it,” Allen said, “the experience is really more so what you pay for, than investing trying to quadruple your money.”
The name of their partnership is the T.D. Group because of course it is, with what else but purple and gold silks for the jockey.
“And we’re sure it’s going to look great on jockey Dean Butler,” Allen said. “But it’ll look even better, if Friday night at about 8:10, it ends up in the winner’s circle.”