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25 Years, 25 Fun Facts

By Noah Joseph

In the 25 years of Canterbury Park’s history, some events have stood out more than others: Here are 25 fun facts, one for every year in Canterbury Park history.

  • 1995: Go Go Jack wins the Lady Canterbury. However, it was the runner-up, Words of War, who made the headlines. In her time as a broodmare, Words of War produced two graded stakes winners. She produced Grade 1 winner No Matter What, who won the Del Mar Oaks in 2000, and E. Dubai, who won two graded stakes and finished second in two Grade 1 races. E. Dubai is also known as the sire of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned.
  • 1996: Highway Home wins the Brooks Fields Stakes. Highway Home competed until the age of 13 and won 14 of 81 races. His final Canterbury start was in 2001, however, his final career start came in 2006 in North Dakota.
  • 1997: Plana Dance wins the Princess Elaine Stakes and Minnesota Distaff Classic Championship. Plana Dance won five stakes in her career and later became the dam of Canterbury Park champion and hall of famer Heliskier.
  • 1998: Troy Bethke became the first trainer in the Canterbury Park era to win back-to-back training titles. Troy finished the season with 30 wins, eight more than Bernell Rhone, his closest competition in the standings, who had 22 wins.
  • 1999: Jockey Luis Quinonez wins his fifth consecutive riding title. Luis rides 72 winners over the course of the season, thirteen more than Derek Bell, his closest competition in the standing, who had 59 wins.
  • 2000: Future Canterbury Park Hall of Fame inductee Valid Leader wins the Hoist Her Flag stakes for the second year in a row, becoming the first to win the Hoist Her Flag in consecutive years.
  • 2001: Canterbury Hall of Fame jockey Dean Kutz returns to Canterbury for closing weekend after being away for many years. He also rode at Canterbury for part of the 2002 season before retiring. He passed away in 2004.
  • 2002: Ruff Arrival sets a Canterbury Park record for the largest margin of victory on June 13th. She wins a one mile race on an off track by 23 and ¼ lengths under jockey Paul Nolan.
  • 2003: The Lady Canterbury returns after a brief hiatus. The race is won by Stylish for the Estate of Prince Ahmed Bin Salman’s Thoroughbred Corporation and trainer Bill Mott. The winning jockey is Brice Blanc.
  • 2004: The largest daily total on wagering occurs on July 17th, Claiming Crown day. A total of $3,632,968 is bet on the 11 race program. It is the largest daily total in the history of racing in Minnesota.
  • 2005: Two track records that still stand at Canterbury are set. On June 19th, Lucano sets the 5 and ½ furlong record of 1:02.65. Later, on July 16th, Onlynurimagination sets the 6 furlong track record in the Claiming Crown Express Stakes. The final time was 1:08.04.
  • 2006: Trainer Michael Stidham sweeps a pair of weekend stakes races. On June 17th, he wins the Minnesota H.B.P.A Mile with Galactic Cat for owner Robert Bone and jockey Paul Nolan. On June 18th, Stidham wins the Come Summer Stakes with Charley Tango. Jesse Campbell rode the winner for Stonerside Stables.
  • 2007: Canterbury Park held its first Extreme Day on July 22nd. A crowd 16,269 watched camel and ostrich races, as well as a variety of special horse races, like a race between quarter horses and thoroughbreds as well as a two mile race. It becomes one of the most successful days in Canterbury history.
  • 2008: Breeders’ Cup alum Cherokee Triangle wins the Come Summer Stakes for Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable. Jason Lumpkins rode for trainer Mike Maker. Cherokee Triangle was 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf the previous year.
  • 2009: Jockey Derek Bell sweeps the opening weekend stakes races on May 16th. He wins the Lady Slipper Stakes aboard Bella Notte, then wins the very next race, the 10,000 Lakes Stakes on Sir Tricky. Both horses were trained by Mac Robertson.
  • 2010: Never Retreat wins the Lady Canterbury Stakes on July 24th. Trained by Chris Block and owned by Team Block, she was ridden to victory by Shane Sellers. Never Retreat later became a Grade 1 winner in both the USA and Canada and won two Sovereign Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Eclipse Awards) the following year, including Horse of the Year.
  • 2011: Humble Smarty sets a new track record for five furlongs on the main track that still stands today. Under jockey Dean Butler, Humble Smarty wins the Honor the Hero Stakes in 56.10.
  • 2012: The inaugural Mystic Lake Derby takes place at Canterbury on July 28th. Hammers Terror wins the race for trainer Michael Stidham and owner Terry Hamilton. Lori Keith was the winning jockey.
  • 2013: Mac Robertson wins his ninth consecutive training title. It is the record for the longest winning streak for trainer title.
  • 2014: Long On Value wins the Mystic Lake Derby on September 13th. Chris Decarlo rides Long On Value to victory for owner Wachtel Stable and George Kerr and trainer Bill Mott. Long On Value later became a Grade 1 winner, earned over a million dollars in prize money, and even competed overseas, making him the most successful Mystic Lake Derby winner to date.
  • 2015: Jockey Corey Lanerie came to Canterbury and swept two stakes on July 11th. He rode Kitty Wine to victory in the Lady Canterbury for owners Joseph Sutton and Stone Farm. Eddie Kenneally was the trainer. Lanerie then won the Mystic Lake Mile on Pumpkin Rumble in a photo finish over defending champion Az Ridge.
  • 2016: The record for the largest attendance on a single day at Canterbury Park is set on July 3rd. 21,453 people came to Canterbury to watch racing and Canterbury’s annual Firework display.
  • 2017: The largest payout for any wager in the history of Canterbury Park occurred on July 20th. The Pick Five Jackpot paid $312,130.75 for 50 cents. Talk about a payday!
  • 2018: The inaugural Mystic Lake Northern Stars Racing Festival occurs on June 23rd. Five stakes races totaling $500,000 in purses feature some of the best horses in the country. Canterbury also plays host to Jockeys and Jeans, a yearly fundraiser that is held at a different track every year to help the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund.
  • 2019: Well it’s a bit early to find a fun fact for 2019. But here’s one that stands out. Memorial Day was the first time in the history of racing in Minnesota in which it rained the entire day with no stoppage.