05/21/2002 11:00PM

Kutz back riding after second test clears


Dean Kutz, who agreed to take off his mounts at Canterbury Park opening weekend after his drug test turned up "a little cloudy," according to Minnesota Racing Commission officials, has been reinstated to ride and is named on horses at the Shakopee, Minn., track Friday night.

Kutz's test, part of a routine physical required before he could ride at Canterbury, clouded up when it was given a "swab" test at the track. The Minnesota Racing Commission sent the urine sample to a laboratory to be more thoroughly analyzed, but the sample wasn't large enough to be tested. The commission then contacted Kutz, who was visiting his mother in North Dakota, and he returned to Shakopee and was given another test at St. Francis Hospital. The results of that test were negative.

Kutz, 45, has provided the racing commission with a list of prescribed medications, including painkillers, he takes as part of his ongoing medical treatment.

After undergoing a kidney transplant, Kutz made his comeback as a jockey at Canterbury in 1985, the track's inaugural season. Kutz was diagnosed with throat cancer in February 2000 and underwent surgery in which his larynx was removed. He now speaks with the use of a metallic voice box, which he holds over an opening in his throat.

Kutz resumed his riding career in Aug. 2001 at Ellis Park, but decided to return to Canterbury Park, where he won two riding titles in the late 1980's, for this meet.

* Belen Quinonez, younger brother of five-time riding champion and Canterbury Park Hall of Famer Luis Quinonez, began his career as a jockey Friday night and wasted no time securing his first victory in the night's fifth race aboard Tim's Best ($28.40). Quinonez's book is handled by agent John Costanzo.

A 23-year old native of Sinaloa, Mexico, Quinonez has worked as a groom and exercise rider at Canterbury in past seasons for trainers Francisco Bravo and Mike Biehler.

* Canterbury's reconditioned main track left fans checking their watches Friday night. Following some very fast clockings in the sixth and seventh races, Minnesota-bred 3-year-old filly Susie Blues made her seasonal debut, completing 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.41. The following day the trend continued as $10,000 claimer John's Rockfleet completed six furlongs in 1:09.43.

Times for Sunday's races were appreciably slower and suggest that this will be a challenging year for making speed-figure variants here.

- additional reporting by David M. Miller