The competition among tracks to attract racehorses, and their owners, is fierce across the United States, especially in the summer months. Recruiting goes on behind the scenes as track officials crisscross the country looking for new trainers and confirming that the regulars will return. Purses are one determining factor when the decision is made but not the only one. Location, the ability for trainers to find a qualified workforce, and the notion that an owner has stock that can compete, are other considerations that may determine if a stable or an owner opts to race in Shakopee.
This season Canterbury officials are introducing two programs designed to address and potentially alleviate one of those aspects.
Location is unalterable. Shipping anywhere has a hard cost. Many horses are vanned to Minnesota from Turf Paradise in Phoenix at a cost of nearly $1,000 a head. Do the math on a stable of 30.
“We have heard for years from many stables that are hesitant to ship to Minnesota due to the upfront cost that can be incurred shipping a stable as far north as Minnesota,” Canterbury racing director Andrew Offerman said. “We understand that these transportation costs can place a burden on a large stable or on a trainer that owns a lot of their own horses. Our hope is that our new shipping loan program can ease the cash flow challenges some of these stables face.”
Program #1: $300,000 Shipping Loan Program
Canterbury Park will offer up to $300,000 in shipping loans for qualified applicants who arrive prior to the start of the 2017 Live Racing Season. Shipping loan applications will be due with stall applications and will be reviewed by the stall allocation committee. Upon review, the committee will authorize up to $30,000 per owner to cover the costs of horse transportation to Canterbury Park. The loan will be recouped by Canterbury Park through the owner’s purse earnings via a loan agreement between the owner(s) and Canterbury Park. The loan application is available here.
Field size has a direct and positive impact on handle, the amount of money wagered on a race. The more horses in a race, the larger the handle. Filling fields in the early stages of the Canterbury meet has at times been challenging. To encourage trainers and owners to have horses ready to run when the track begins racing May 5, officials are introducing a starter incentive program, similar to those offered with success in other jurisdictions.
“Shipping incentive programs used in Southern California and Washington were popular with owners and trainers,” Offerman said. “Canterbury’s New Starter Incentive program is designed to reward stables that bring new, race-ready horses to Shakopee in 2017.”
Program #2: $100,000 New Starter Incentive Program
Canterbury Park’s new starter incentive program, run in partnership with the Minnesota H.B.P.A., is designed to reward owners who bring a new, race-ready thoroughbred to Canterbury Park in 2017. Any thoroughbred* making its first start at Canterbury Park shall be eligible for a one-time bonus paid according to the following schedule:
Initial start at Canterbury Park prior to May 31, 2017: $500
Initial start at Canterbury Park after June 1, 2017: $250
* In order to be eligible for this program, the thoroughbred must fit the following criteria:
The horse must have made its most recent start after January 1, 2017.
If its last start was in a claiming race, the horse must have started for a claiming price of $3,000 or greater.
First-time starters are not eligible for the Canterbury 2017 New Starter Incentive Program.
In order to be eligible for Canterbury’s 2017 New Starter Incentive Program, the trainer of the horse must have stalls assigned at Canterbury Park.
Shipping incentives from this program will be paid until the exhaustion of the $100,000. The Canterbury Park Racing Office will produce records each week so that owners and trainers can fully understand the current expenditures from this fund and estimate the amount remaining available for awards.
More information about the 67-day race meet as well as racing department contacts can be found here.