Canterbury Park received approval from the Minnesota Racing Commission on Thursday, November 18 to conduct a 62-day thoroughbred and quarter horse race meet in 2011. The meet will begin Friday, May 20 and run through Monday, September 5 with Thursday and Friday post times of 7:00 p.m. and weekend and holiday post times of 1:30 p.m.
Highlights of the meet include the 18th renewal of the Minnesota Festival of Champions, a day dedicated to the best race horses bred in the state. In the planning stages is Fillies Race For Hope, a breast cancer awareness fundraising event. Dates for those events will be announced when the stakes schedule is released in January.
“We will run the same number of days in 2011 as we did this past season,” Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said. The daily purse structure is expected to remain similar to the 2010 season when an average of $120,000 was paid to horsemen. “We remain optimistic about the future of horseracing in Minnesota and want to make sure there are opportunities for horsemen to run their horses. Keeping a 62-day meet does that,” Sampson said.
Attendance in 2010 averaged 5,859, a record since the suburban Minneapolis facility reopened in 1995. “The fans continue to support racing. I expect them to fill the stands again next summer,” Sampson said.