Sixteen-year-old Scott Bethke, the youngest jockey at Canterbury, made his professional riding debut this spring at Fonner Park in Nebraska. “I have been riding at the Carlton County Fair in Barnum, Minn. since I was 10 and a few guys helped me there,” Scott said.
From New Germany, Minn, Scott has grown up around horses with the influence from his father, Troy Bethke, a trainer at Canterbury since the ’80s. Scott has been breaking horses at the farm since he was 11-years-old and he started galloping at Canterbury a few years ago. He also has some friends that ride that have helped him get started in racing.
The transition from helping his dad train horses to riding in races has been smooth Scott says. “It’s been a really good experience and I like it a lot.” In preparation for the races, Scott looks at the racing form and figures out if he should go up front or come from behind with the horse.
“Being the youngest jockey has been good,” he said. “They’re all good guys and there really doesn’t seem to be a difference between us.”
Scott has been lucky enough to have many memories at Canterbury but one of his favorites was when they had a horse run and win a major stakes race. “When we had Bet Your Boots win in the Northern Lights Futurity in 2009, that was really cool,” Scott said.
Scott’s future plans for his career includes riding as many races he can, in hopes of some wins along the way. He won his first race at Canterbury on June 10 while riding 2-year-old Little Timmy, a horse he broke as a yearling. Little Timmy is owned and trained by his father, Troy Bethke. Scott followed that up Saturday with a turf win on 10-1 Sweet Tango.