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30th Season of Horse Racing at Canterbury Park Begins May 18

54-day meet, designed to increase wagering and on-track attendance, runs through Sept. 28.

Canterbury Park will begin its 30th season of live thoroughbred and quarter horse racing Saturday, May 18. The 54-day season, with racing conducted primarily on Thursdays and Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m., will run through Sept. 28. Changes to the wagering menu, additions to the already-popular promotional schedule, and racing infrastructure improvements will welcome back race fans and horse people.

“We are excited to get our 30th season underway,” Canterbury Park General Manager John Groen said. “We continue to invest in the Minnesota racing industry and find creative ways to attract

John Groen

more fans to Canterbury Park. Racing at Canterbury is an important part of the state’s sports and entertainment landscape, and our loyal fanbase continues to make Canterbury Park one of the most exciting venues for live racing in the country.” Last year daily attendance averaged nearly 5,000 but several race days attracted more than 12,000. “Horse players can expect competitive racing and wagering opportunities while the thousands of casual fans that visit us each season will find many of the traditional events like the Kwik Trip Fireworks Spectacular and corgi dog races on the calendar along with new promotional ideas.”

The nearly 1,000 people working on the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack’s backstretch caring for and riding the 1,100 racehorses that will stable there this season will notice several improvements as Canterbury Park continues a $15 million investment in infrastructure. Many of those changes will also be evident to race fans as well. A new safety rail has been installed on the main racetrack. Three new barns, each holding 108 racehorses have been completed. A new racing distance will be introduced in June as a seven-furlong chute located near the first turn is being constructed.

Horse players will notice a change to the wagering menu as a second Pick 5 wager will be offered daily. The pari-mutuel wager with a 10 percent takeout, offered each race day on the first five and final five races, requires the participant to select in order the winners of those five consecutive races, placing the bet before the first race in the series begins. The base wager will be 50 cents. The 10 percent takeout rate is the lowest in North American racing.

Amber Carlisle

“We expect to have a full backstretch this season,” Senior Manager of Racing Operations Amber Carlisle said. “Our focus is on increasing field size and the competitiveness of the racing as we know that is what horse players want,” Carlisle said. “Our turf course is an asset, something that other Midwest tracks do not have, and we intend to race on the grass as much as possible.” Last season Canterbury ran an average of three turf races on a typical eight-race program.

Originally named Canterbury Downs, the suburban-Minneapolis racetrack opened in 1985 and closed following the 1992 season. Current CEO Randy Sampson along with his father Curtis Sampson and Dale Schenian purchased the facility in 1994 and returned live racing to the state in 1995. Canterbury Park is Minnesota’s only publicly traded gaming destination (NASDAQ: CPHC) and has conducted a race meet each year since.

“We are proud of our 30-year history,” Randy Sampson, Canterbury’s Chairman and President said. “There have of course been ups and downs over the decades but we remain committed to

Randy Sampson

supporting a strong racing industry in Minnesota. While we may be at a crossroads now, there are solutions that can help the industry stay competitive and grow purses. That would have a positive agricultural impact on all corners of the state.”

On April 1, the Minnesota Racing Commission approved a request by Canterbury Park and Running Aces, a harness track north of the Twin Cities, authorizing historical horse racing (HHR), a form of pari-mutuel wagering that has been used by racing industries in other states to modernize gaming and build purses. The MRC approval of the HHR terminals is scheduled to take effect May 21. However, the MRC approval is currently facing legal challenges as well as legislative action that could prevent the approval from taking effect.

Promotional Schedule Highlights
Dog Races, held between horse races, attract some of the largest crowds each year. Returning are bulldogs (May 26), basset hounds (June 23), wiener dogs (July 4) and corgis (Aug. 18) with the addition of miniature poodles and doodles (July 28).
Extreme Race Day July 14 – camel, ostrich and zebra racing.
Taste of Canterbury – six individual events featuring Canterbury’s culinary team pairing food and drink.
Kwik Trip Fireworks Spectacular July 3 – annually attracts the largest crowd of the season for an evening of horse racing followed by fireworks.