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$15 million backstretch redevelopment continues in preparation for 2024 racing season

Construction of three 108-stall barns underway at Canterbury Park

Canterbury Park’s $15 million stable area and racing infrastructure improvement project continued this week with construction work beginning on three new barns that will be home to more than 300 horses in the 2024 racing season. The barn construction project continues a busy off-season of upgrades that also includes the installation of a new safety rail on the main track.

“With all necessary approvals now in place, we are on schedule to have these much-anticipated barns ready for the May start of the 2024 thoroughbred and quarter horse live racing season, our 30th since reopening as Canterbury Park,” company CEO Randy Sampson said. “The barns, which will be located adjacent to the main track and training track entrances, are designed to be both efficient and comfortable work spaces for those that are hands-on with the racehorses daily.”

Each of the new barns will include 10 tack rooms, 10 feed rooms and 10 wash stalls with 108 horse stalls, each 12 by 12 feet. Site work and utility installation for the new barns began last Monday following final permitting and approval processes from the city and state. The structures will feature open-air sides and roof vents allowing for maximum ventilation and airflow. A fabric roof will allow for natural light while providing shelter from the elements. Conveniently located between the barns will be restroom and laundry facilities.

Installation of a new safety rail on the main track is currently underway and will be completed in early November. The Rider Protection System designed by Horsemen’s Track and Equipment of Louisville, Kentucky is designed to help minimize injuries to both horses and riders if an accident occurs.

Randy Sampson

“We will continue to invest in the racetrack and backstretch, making improvements that are beneficial to both horsepersons and horses,” Sampson said.
Other improvements to the backstretch include the relocation of the stable gate entrance and new circulation roads. In 2025, a new horsemen RV park will be ready to accommodate at least 25 units.

The redevelopment began last year with construction of a 36-unit dormitory and a complete remodel of the receiving barn area, converting it to stabling for 80 horses. The new dorms were warmly received by backstretch workers who moved in during the 2023 race meet. Also, the main track lighting system was completely replaced and the training track was reconfigured prior to the 2023 season.

Canterbury Park also announced that Chris Merz submitted his resignation as senior director of racing operations to pursue other opportunities. Racing secretary Rob Junk and racing operations manager Amber Carlisle anticipate that the 2024 stakes schedule and condition book will be available in early 2024.

Company officials will submit an application with the specifics of the 2024 season to the Minnesota Racing Commission in November with the expectation that the commission act on that request in December.