By Megan Johnson
Nik Goodwin, a versatile jockey, continues to succeed and is just shy of 1,000 career thoroughbred wins. Nik won the quarter horse riding title here this season and is seven wins away from being the all-time winningest ‘Q’ rider in Canterbury history. He started riding professionally 25 years ago. Nik grew up on the backside of the racetrack and continues to see himself involved in the industry for his entire life.
Q: When did you start riding?
A: I started riding and won my first race in 1991. Before I started riding at Canterbury, I was cleaning stalls on the backside and exercising horses when I was 16-years-old.
Q: How did you get started in racing?
A: I grew up around the horse industry at a young age. My dad’s family was really into horse racing.
Q: What other racetracks have you ridden at?
A: I used to ride up in Winnipeg but I’ve also raced at Santa Anita Park in California, and at Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park in Maryland. I’ve also ridden at a lot of other east coast tracks.
Q: Where do you call home?
A: My wife and I have a home down in Florida but I consider Minnesota my home. I’m originally from Bemidji and I have a lot of family that still lives in the state so it’s nice to come here.
Q: What do you do during the winter months when you’re not in Minnesota riding?
A: I usually take some time off and don’t race as much, but in the past I’ve gone south and worked with yearlings to get them ready to be trained. I also breeze a lot of horses around the time of the sales to help them get ready.
Q: Why do you continue to race?
A: I’ve been riding for 25 years and it doesn’t feel like a job and I like that aspect of it. I like what I do. I enjoy the whole aspect of the racetrack.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of racing?
A: I spend my free time fishing, hunting and spending time with my three sons and wife.
Q: What’s one of your favorite memories riding?
A: One memory that stands out would have to be when I won my very first race while riding my father’s horse in Winnipeg. Another race that was very special was when I won while riding a horse my grandfather owned and my father trained. It was three generations for that win, it was pretty cool.
Q: Do you have a favorite genre of music?
A: It’s changed over the years but I’ve always like country.
Q: Where is one destination spot you would like to travel to?
A: My wife and I really want to go to Hawaii for a vacation. One day we will get there.
Q: What are your future goals for your riding career?
A: I want to my 1,000th career win for thoroughbred races because I’m only 11 away. I’m also only about six races away from tying the all-time quarter horse win record for jockeys at Canterbury. Those are two goals in the near future that I would like to accomplish.