Staff Directory 6370572

Rachel Blount

Reporter/Columnist | Sports
Phone: 612-673-4389

Rachel Blount is a sports reporter for the Star Tribune who covers a variety of topics, including the Olympics, Wild, college sports and horse racing. She has written extensively about Minnesota's Olympic athletes and has covered pro and college hockey since joining the staff in 1990. 

An Iowa native, Blount is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She has won numerous state and national writing awards. Her favorite stories to tell are those that convey the emotion and humanity of sports. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Pat Borzi, who also is a sportswriter.
Recent content from Rachel Blount
Secretariat approached the finish line in his 31-length victory at the Belmont Stakes for the 1973 Triple Crown.

Secretariat's Triple Crown run turns 50, and Minnesota is part of the lore

The story behind the birth of the great Secretariat's first foal doesn't get told often. But Lynn Nankivil delights in telling the tale of how the birth of First Secretary was an international news event from a farm near Winona.
Secretariat, with jockey Ron Turcotte, started the Triple Crown with a record ride at the 99th Kentucky Derby.

Secretariat's Triple Crown: Six things to know

Here's why the sports world was mesmerized by a horse in 1973.
Fans cheered on a race as they also celebrated a bachelorette party on opening night at Canterbury Park in Shakopee on Saturday.

Fun opening night at Canterbury offers something for everyone

Five things to know from the start of a shorter 2023 season at Shakopee compared to recent years.
Ready to Runaway, ridden by Roimes Chirinos, won the $50,000 Minnesota Turf Distaff at Canterbury Park in 2021.

Canterbury Park enters Saturday's season opener with big first weekend planned

The track is making the adjustment in its first year after the expiration of its purse-enhancement deal with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
Veterinarian Dr. Christy Klatt had a quick snuggle with Hot Shot Kid on Monday while performing exams with the other veterinarians on horses at Canter

Keeping horses fit to race is challenge for Canterbury Park, state veterinarians

On race day, the veterinarians follow horses from the time they leave their barns through the end of their races. They have the power to remove a horse at any time, which sometimes causes friction with trainers and others.
Lakeville's Cinnamo named to U.S. roster for World Paralympics

Lakeville's Cinnamo named to U.S. roster for World Paralympics

Josh Cinnamo secured a place on the team by winning the shot put at last week's U.S. Paralympics track and field national championships in Chula Vista, Calif
Sarah Bacon, who won five NCAA titles with the Gophers from 2018-22, defended her women’s 3-meter national title in Morgantown, W. Va.

Former Gophers diver Bacon wins women's 3-meter national title

Sarah Bacon, who won five NCAA titles with the Gophers from 2018-22, earned a berth in that event at this summer's world championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
Veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Butler performed an exam on a horse at Canterbury Park in Shakopee.

Horse fatality numbers for Canterbury Park, all North American tracks

Here's a look at the overall numbers since 2011 and the statistics at Canterbury Park, measured in fatalities per 1,000 starts.
Minnesota Aurora coach Nicole Lukic led her team through preparations for Wednesday’s season opener.

Minnesota Aurora: Who's back? What's new? How to watch

The Aurora open their new season Wednesday night against Rochester FC, a newcomer to the USL W League's Heartland Division.
Minnesota Aurora defender Kelsey Kaufusi was in the media spotlight Monday at TCO Stadium in Eagan.

After 'miraculous' debut, Aurora enter Season 2 with bigger goals

The Minnesota Aurora were a smashing, first-year success last season, drawing big crowds to Eagan and playing for the USL W championship. They're primed for a big encore.
Running Aces’ season opener on Sunday will feature a nine-race card, highlighted by an $18,500 open trot. First post is 7 p.m.

Running Aces trotters, pacers set sights on record $6.6 million season purse

The schedule opens Sunday and runs through Sept. 16, with racing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Two Phil’s, a stakes winner at Canterbury Park last season and ridden by former Canterbury jockey champion Jareth Loveberry, will not race in the Pr

Kentucky Derby runner-up Two Phil's will not run in Preakness

Trainer Larry Rivelli told the Daily Racing Form that Two Phil's "came back great" after the Derby, but he wanted to give the horse more time between races.
Gophers golfer Isabella McCauley has posted a scoring average of 72.86 over the fall and spring seasons, which is a program record.

U golf star McCauley wants to be known for more than her scores

While her college golf career was off to a strong start, Isabella McCauley believed she could benefit from fine-tuning her mental approach on the course.
Kentucky Derby favorite Forte waited to get a bath after a workout at Churchill Downs this week.

What to know about the 149th Kentucky Derby

Forte is the favorite, but a host of horses are legitimate hopefuls, including one with a Minnesota connection.
With Jareth Loveberry riding, Two Phil’s won the Shakopee Juvenile at Canterbury Park last September by 10 lengths.

From Canterbury to Kentucky Derby: Horse, jockey run for the roses

On Saturday, jockey Jareth Loveberry will ride Two Phil's in the Kentucky Derby, eight months after they stood in the winner's circle at Canterbury Park. It wasn't a trip that anyone expected.
Gophers pitcher George Klassen has held opponents to a .205 batting average season.

Gophers pitcher Klassen is a work in progress — with a 100-mph fastball

George Klassen has returned from elbow surgery this season and projects as a second-round pick for the MLB draft in July.
Emma Bates, of Minnesota, waves while approaching the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Monday, April 17, 2023, in Boston. Bates was the top America

Ignoring coach's advice, Elk River's Bates runs her way to glory in Boston

In her first time running the Boston Marathon, Emma Bates finished fifth and was the top finisher among U.S. women. She lowered her personal best by more than a minute — and didn't follow the plan of her coach.
Isaiah Schafer, who won NCAA Division II championships in the shot put before coming to Minnesota, ranks sixth nationally for the Gophers.

Against all odds: How U men's track opened season No. 1 in the nation

It had never been done in program history, and it happened even after the Gophers stopped competing in indoor track when university officials eliminated the program three years ago.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, right, greeted Dorka Juhász after the Lynx selected her 16th overall in the second round Monday.

Every pick by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2023 WNBA draft

The Lynx's five-player 2023 class includes a 6-5, 19-year-old prospect from France and a teammate of Paige Bueckers at Connecticut.
Diamond Miller, right, posed with WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being selected No. 2 overall by the Lynx in the WNBA basketball draft on Mon

Diamond Miller at No. 2 overall highlights Lynx 2023 draft class

It was the Lynx highest draft pick since selecting Maya Moore first overall in 2011. They added four more picks in what Cheryl Reeve called a 'solid draft.'
Minnesota native Suni Lee closed her college career at Auburn after two seasons.

Suni Lee says kidney issue kept her from competing in NCAA regionals

Lee, the all-around gold medal winner in the Tokyo Olympics from St. Paul, had previously announced that this would be her final season competing collegiately at Auburn.
Max McHugh, above in a meet last fall, finished third in the 200 breaststroke in the NCAA meet.

Gophers' McHugh third in 100 breaststroke; ASU's Marchand sets third NCAA record

Gophers fifth-year senior Max McHugh won the 100 breaststroke, but finished only third in the 200 breaststroke, an event he won two years ago and placed second in last year.
Max McHugh is seeded No. 2 in the 100 breaststroke and No. 3 in the 200 breaststroke heading into this week’s NCAA meet.

McHugh enters NCAA meet as one of U's greatest swimmers ever

When fifth-year senior Max McHugh joined the Gophers men's swimming team in 2018, the goals he wrote down were modest. He vastly underestimated his talents.
Gophers swimmer Bar Soloveychik was second in the 1,650 freestyle at the Big Ten championships and is seeded 22nd in that event entering the NCAA meet

NCAA men's swimming and diving championships at a glance

The host Gophers will have eight swimmers and one diver competing in the NCAA championships, which run Wednesday through Saturday at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.
Gophers goalie Skylar Vetter has a 1.82 goals-against average, and Madeline Wethington, right, is a key member of the team’s defensive corps.

Finally another title? U women have something to prove at Frozen Four

The Gophers women have made defense a bigger priority in preparation for tonight's semifinal against Wisconsin as they try for their first title since 2016.
Gophers captain Abigail Boreen took a shot that was defended by Wisconsin’s Vivian Jungels, an Edina native, when the teams met Feb. 10 at Ridder Ar

Frozen Four semis: Gophers-Badgers rivalry, another fine matchup

Ohio State has been a perennial power, and Northeastern is riding a 22-game win streak into Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
Abbey Murphy (18) leads teammates back to the Gophers bench after scoring in the third period as Minnesota took a 2-0 lead over Minnesota Duluth.

Gophers power past Minnesota Duluth into women's Frozen Four

Skylar Vetter earned her seventh shutout of the season and Minnesota avenged their NCAA tournament loss to the Bulldogs from last year to reach the Frozen Four in Duluth next week.
Alex Cancari, who rode Ready to Runaway to victory in the 2020 Lady Slipper Stakes at Canterbury Park, died on Wednesday.

Alex Canchari, one of Canterbury Park's top jockeys, dies at age 29

One of the most skilled riders at Canterbury Park, Canchari stands seventh on the all-time earnings list at his hometown track with $7.11 million in earnings. He had his 1,000th career victory in May.
Jessie Diggins of  Afton celebrated on the podium after winning an individual cross-country race at the FIS Nordic world ski championships.

History maker: Diggins first U.S. skier to win solo world Nordic gold

Jessie Diggins of Afton became the first American ever to capture a gold medal in an individual cross-country race at the FIS Nordic world ski championships.
Afton native Jessie Diggins competed in the women’s 10k freestyle at the FIS cross-country skiing World Cup, in Les Rousses, France on Jan. 27.

Diggins having another big season, handling pressure even better

Jessie Diggins, the cross-country skiing star from Afton, is entering the FIS Nordic world ski championships this week in Planica, Slovenia.
Afton’s Jessie Diggins, right, took third place behind Ebba Andersson (Sweden), middle, and Delphine Claudel (France), left, in the women’s 10km f

Minneapolis picked to host 2024 cross-country skiing World Cup

The event will mark the return of World Cup cross-country ski racing to the United States after a 23-year absence. It had been scheduled to be here in 2020 but was called off because of the pandemic.
Prior Lake native Paula Moltzan is enjoying a career season on the Alpine skiing World Cup tour.

Prior Lake's Moltzan turns joy into World Cup skiing success

While her teammate Mikaela Shiffrin remains the megastar, Paula Moltzan has become the clear No. 2 on the U.S. team at of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
Gophers forward Abbey Murphy scores a goal against Ohio State in the second period Friday at Ridder Arena.

Gophers women's hockey takes down No. 1 Ohio State 4-2

The victory put the third-ranked Gophers five points ahead of the Buckeyes in the WCHA standings.
Former Vikings defensive end Jared Allen,  describing curling: “Like the short game in golf, it’s a game of finesse. You have to think two shots a

Ex-Vikings star Allen still on quest to be Olympic curler — and win bet

A man who once made his living with brute force is now immersed in a sport that requires finesse and delicacy in an improbable bid for a spot in the 2026 Olympics.
U.S. curling championships preview

U.S. curling championships preview

Eight men's teams and eight women's teams vying to represent the U.S. at the world championships.
A quarter horse and jockey sprint by the Canterbury Park grandstand during a race in 2021. Estimated purses for the full quarter horse stakes program

Canterbury Park announces smaller purses for '23 quarter horse races

Its richest quarter horse race, the Northlands Futurity, will have an estimated purse of $86,000, down from $105,100 last season.
Prior Lake native Paula Moltzan reacted after her World Cup Alpine ski run in Flachau, Austria, on Jan. 10.

Moltzan, Diggins, other Minnesotans keep pushing in non-Olympic year

From Alpine and cross-country skiing to speedskating, biathlon and curling, Minnesotans are making a mark in various international competitions.
Florent Geroux atop Stitched easily won the $150,000 Mystic Lake Derby turf race last June 22 at Canterbury Park.

Canterbury Park announces trimmed thoroughbred stakes schedule

With less purse money available this season, the Shakopee track will cut three races and $410,000 in purses from its thoroughbred stakes program.
Canterbury Park is planning for a 54-day season this year, down from 64 days last season.

Canterbury Park adjusts as 2012 deal with Mdewakanton Sioux ends

The deal, which added $70 million to Canterbury's purses over 11 years, expired on Dec. 31. But Canterbury CEO Randy Sampson said he remains optimistic about the track's future.
Jessie Diggins at an event in Afton earlier this year.

Jessie Diggins grabs historic World Cup win

Cross-country skier Jessie Diggins of Afton won a 20-kilometer freestyle race Sunday for her 14th World Cup individual victory, most of any American in history.
Regan Smith, shown at the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary in June

Lakeville's Regan Smith wins five events at U.S. Open swim meet

Regan Smith Smith earned the women's high-point award for the meet with victories in the 100 and 200 backstroke, the 100 and 200 butterfly and the 200 individual medley.
Jessie Diggins, shown during the 10km Classic during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics

Jessie Diggins wins World Cup cross-country event in Norway

With Friday's win, Jessie Diggins is now tied with Kikkan Randall for the most World Cup wins by an American cross-country skier.
The 50th class of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame: Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando (top). Bottom row: Ryan Miller (left), Jim J

U.S. Hockey Hall to induct Lamoureuxs, Miller in St. Paul

Steve Cash, Jim Johannson and Warren Strelow will also be honored Wednesday at RiverCentre as part of the Eveleth museum's 50th induction class.
Suni Lee listened to instructions from coach Jeff Graba last December at Auburn.

Lee's path to the Paris 2024 Olympics will go through Minnesota again

Suni Lee, 19, plans to finish her sophomore season at Auburn and then return to her gym in Little Canada for Olympic training.
Canterbury Park is proposing a 54-day race season next year, 10 fewer than last summer.

Canterbury Park plans to shrink 2023 racing season

With a 10-year deal with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community expiring Dec. 31, the horse track plans to cut back with a mix of three-day and four-day race weeks.
Gophers senior Naya Gros (8) made a play during the team’s three-set victory against Illinois at Maturi Pavilion last Saturday.

Gophers volleyball heats up entering Saturday's rematch with No. 12 Purdue

The Boilermakers swept the Gophers last month, but Minnesota has had better results of late, while Purdue has stumbled.
St. Thomas goaltender Alexa Dobchuk saved a shot from the Gophers’ Catie Skaja at Ridder Arena last January. The Tommies announced plans for an on-c

St. Thomas plans on-campus ice arena, new baseball/softball complex

The Tommies, who had explored off-campus sites for hockey, are targeting St. Paul's Highland Bridge development for the ballfields.
Regan Smith of Lakeville is leaving Stanford to turn professional and prepare for the 2024 Olympics.

Olympic medalist Smith from Lakeville leaving Stanford to turn pro

Following last summer's Olympics, Regan Smith had a successful freshman season. She won six medals at the NCAA championships and was named Pac-12 women's swimmer of the year.
Minnesota Aurora FC teammates celebrated a goal by Addison Symonds in an eventual 2-1 overtime loss July 23 to Tormenta FC for the USL W League title.

Are Minnesota Aurora already up for a bigger soccer challenge?

After finishing second in its debut year, it's fair to wonder about whether the women's pre-professional soccer club would seek a higher profile. Club officials explained what the future will hold.
Ruben Fuentes (far right) rode Rush Hour Traffic to victory in the $100,000 Princess Elaine Turf Championship last year at Canterbury Park.

After bad injury, Canterbury jockey gets leg up from fund to which he's donated

Ruben Fuentes is receiving help from a Canterbury Park charity to which jockeys donate as he heals from a serious accident in June. The fund will raise money from fans during Saturday's races.
Maggie Ewen

Trio of Minnesotans set for World Track & Field Championships

Maggie Ewen, Emma Bates and Joe Klecker will participate in the world championships this weekend, which will be held on American soil for the first time.
Canterbury Park

Canterbury Park ready to host nine stakes races this week

One highlight will be Danjer, the American Quarter Horse Association world champion in 2021, going for a threepeat in Thursday's $52,360 Canterbury Park Championship Challenge.
Wagering at Canterbury Park reached its peak on June 22 for the  Mystic Lake Northern Stars Turf Festival.

Concern mounts as end nears for Canterbury Park's deal with Mdewakanton Sioux

The agreement expanded purses and made the racetrack nationally prominent. Negotiations to extend it are ongoing, but breeding is already impacted.
Javier Castellano, atop Schlofmitz, won the $100,000 Curtis Sampson Oaks turf race on June 22 in the Mystic Lake Northern Stars Turf Festival at Cante

Canterbury Park purses on the rise since 2012 SMSC deal; Minnesota-bred foal numbers dropping

A look at some of the numbers involved at the longtime Shakopee horse racing track.
June 5, 1978 Title IX legislation but may yet face toughest hurdle Stormi Greener , Minneapolis Star Tribune ORG XMIT: MERe4bb0ea864b4e87b409c77ddce03

Eight Minnesota women on what's next in the fight for gender equality in sports

Title IX's 50th anniversary is an opportunity to challenge current thinking and continue the fight for fairness in sports.
Ruben Fuentes, atop Rush Hour Traffic, won the Princess Elaine Minnesota Distaff Turf Championship at Canterbury Park last September.

Jockey Fuentes hurt, his horse euthanized at Canterbury Park

Jockey Ruben Fuentes remained hospitalized Friday for injuries sustained when his horse, Malintent, injured a leg in a Thursday race and was euthanized.
Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath is pleased with his two-year extension but acknowledges the club’s current record needs to improve.

Heath inks two-year extension, says Loons must keep building

The Loons reached the playoffs the past three seasons but sit in 11th place in the MLS Western Conference.
Piper Ritter, right, has coached the Gophers softball team the past two seasons.

New report shows slight national increase in women's coaching hires

The University of Minnesota's Tucker Center released its annual Women in College Coaching report card on Wednesday.
Regan Smith

Regan Smith adds fourth-place (200 fly) and fifth-place (50 back) finishes at world championships

The Lakeville native swam two finals in about 30 minutes Wednesday after winning the 100 backstroke on Monday.
Jockey Jareth Loveberry smiled atop King Of Miami, son of American Pharoah, after he beat out Modern Science and favorite T-D Dance to win the Mystic

Mystic Lake Northern Stars Turf Festival features five turf races with purses $100K or more

With $150,000 at stake, the Mystic Lake Derby is the richest race of the season at Canterbury Park.
Hall of Famer Scott Stevens, left, is now a jockey agent on the rise, and one of his clients is Harry Hernandez, the hottest thing going at Canterbury

Hall of Fame jockey Stevens turns into an agent with a rising sensation as a client

Harry Hernandez, 25, has won 139 races this year, the third-highest total in North America, entering Wednesday's big slate at Canterbury Park.
Silver medalist Kylie Masse, gold medalist Regan Smith of the United States and bronze medalist Claire Curzan posed on the podium of the women 100m ba

'Old' at 20, Lakeville's Smith wins world title in 100 backstroke

Olympic swimmer Regan Smith said "it's just weird'' not to be among the youngest Americans at the world championships.
Bayliss Flynn played at the Minnesota Thunder Academy in 2020.

Edina goalkeeper lands first NIL deal for a Minnesota high school athlete

Bayliss Flynn, 17, is playing for the Minnesota Aurora before beginning her senior year at Edina. New rules announced last week by the Minnesota State High School League make the deal possible.
Horses take off in the fourth race during opening night at Canterbury Park on Wednesday

Canterbury Park opens 28th season to summery success

Two stakes races welcomed back fans to the track in Shakopee, so many that more programs had to be printed. A total of $139,300 was wagered on track.
An exercise rider worked out a horse at Canterbury Park to prepare for Wednesday’s opener.

Canterbury Park opens season Wednesday with two stakes races

Among the changes this season will be the return of Saturday racing, with first post at 5 p.m.
The Gophers’ Yaroslav Owens-Pochinka (shown practicing at Cooke Hall in April) won the GymACT national title on still rings with a score of 13.800 o

Gophers club gymnastics team finishes fourth at nationals

Yaroslav Owens-Pochinka won the GymACT national title on still rings, while Kellen Ryan was sixth in the all-around. Both earned All-America honors.
Coach Mike Burns is still angry the U cut his 118-year-old program but has redirected his energy. He said, “I’ve always preached to my guys, ‘Id

One year after the Gophers cut men's gymnastics, 'We're not going away'

Longtime coach Mike Burns now runs the program as a club, and it's heading into a new national meet Saturday.
Zandon placed third in the Kentucky Derby, but will skip the remaining two legs of the Triple Crown races to point toward the Travers Stakes in August

Minnesota horse Zandon won't race in the Preakness or Belmont

Zandon's owner, Jeff Drown of St. Cloud, has the horse pointed toward the Travers Stakes. Derby winner Rich Strike won't race in the Preakness, either.
Joni and Barry Butzow watched their horse Zozos moments before the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Minnesota to Churchill Downs: A horse owner's Derby dream trip

Barry and Joni Butzow of Eden Prairie had made the annual pilgrimage to Kentucky Derby for 20 years. But this time was different: They finally had a horse in the race. This is the up-close story of their Derby Week
Sonny Leon celebrates after riding Rich Strike past the finish line to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday

Long shot Rich Strike, at 81-1, wins Kentucky Derby; Zandon places third

The 148th running of the Kentucky Derby went off Saturday on a cool day at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Rich Strike, an 81-1 long shot who was an alternate until Friday morning, pulled off a monumental upset over the field of 20.
Rich Strike (21), with Sonny Leon aboard, leads Epicenter (3), with Joel Rosario aboard, and Zandon (10), with Flavien Prat aboard in the running of t

Prat, aboard Zandon, surprised as anyone to be overtaken in Kentucky Derby

Four undercard wins may have stoked his confidence with third-place colt Zandon, but no one saw Rich Strike's closing kick coming.
Jill Drown, works to get a selfie with Zandon  at barn  at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2022. Photo by Mark Cornelison
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This Kentucky Derby sets up as a Minnesota spectacle with Zandon and Zozos

Race day could be emotional for St. Cloud's Jeff Drown, owner of Zandon, and Eden Prairie's Joni and Barry Butzow, owner of Zozos.
Churchill Downs held the 147th Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2021 in Louisville.

Kentucky Derby: TV, facts about the race, Minnesota connections and more

Kentucky Derby week is here, and two Minnesota-owned horses will be in the running. Here's a primer on everything you need to know.
Though Bob Baffert has won six Kentucky Derbies and two Triple Crowns, a series of positive drug tests in his horses have stained the reputation of th

From Kentucky to Canterbury Park, horse racing faces its reckoning

A new federal law will take go into effect in July with the goal of reducing cheating, such as the episode during last year's Kentucky Derby involving a horse who died after a workout months later.
American Pharoah awoke from a nap to greet visitors from Minnesota earlier this week at Coolmore America.

American Pharoah wakes up, meets Minnesotans on Derby barn tour

Friends of Barry and Joni Butzow of Eden Prairie, whose colt Zozos will run in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, have spent time visiting horse farms in the Lexington area.