Canterbury Park’s 2020 thoroughbred and quarter horse racing season will run May 15 through Sept. 12, a 65-day meet approved Thursday by the Minnesota Racing Commission.
Thursday and Friday racing in 2020 will begin at 6:00 p.m. Saturday post time, which has historically been early afternoon, has been moved to 5 p.m. while Sundays and holiday Mondays will begin at 12:45 p.m. On July 3 and 4 racing will begin at 4 p.m. with fireworks displays to follow the racing program each night. A one-week break in the racing season will allow Canterbury to host the second annual Twin Cities Summer Jam July 23-25, a three-day music festival held in the racetrack infield.
Canterbury experimented with select Saturday evening programs during parts of the past four seasons and saw a positive impact on attendance, revenue related to food and beverage sales, and handle, leading to the 2020 post time change. Racing officials believe that out-of-state handle will improve dramatically on Saturday evenings due to increased exposure during a time window when fewer tracks are running. That exposure could also create familiarity amongst bettors that will positively impact its other racing days.
“We will run some of our most compelling race cards on Saturday evenings in 2020, as we have the past few years to great success,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “Showcasing our racing every Saturday night both locally and to the international wagering audience will continue to grow handle.”
The Northern Stars Racing Festival, which includes the Mystic Lake Derby, Mystic Lake Mile, and Lady Canterbury Stakes, will be Saturday, June 27. Made in Minnesota Night will be Saturday, Aug. 15 and includes the Minnesota Derby and Minnesota Oaks, each offering $100,000 purses. Additionally, the 27th Minnesota Festival of Champions worth more than $800,000 in total purse money will be held on Saturday, Sept. 5. The entire 2020 stakes schedule will be released in January.
Purses are anticipated to exceed $14 million, at approximately $225,000 per day, an amount equal to 2019. A 2012 cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement reached with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of nearby Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, will supplement purses by $7.28 million. The agreement extends through 2022 with more than $83 million going toward purse supplements and joint marketing of the two properties and the region known as RiverSouth-Land of Big Fun.
Canterbury’s promotional calendar will again include several popular events such as Corgis & Cupcakes and Indian Horse Relay. The promotional schedule will be announced when season table and single-day reserved seating sales begin in March.