Live horse racing schedule would require approval of Minnesota Racing Commission; Operational procedures and protocols to be implemented during racing will be provided to state and local officials for review.
Canterbury Park officials today submitted a revision of their request for live racing dates for 2020 to the Minnesota Racing Commission. The amended request asks for a 52-day season beginning June 10 and concluding Sept. 9, with races conducted Monday through Thursday. The MRC in December approved a 2020 schedule of 65 days beginning May 15 but circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have caused a postponement of those dates. Canterbury Park temporarily suspended operations, including card casino and simulcast wagering which are major sources of horsemen purse revenue, on March 16 and subsequently furloughed 850 employees.
The requested schedule is subject to approval by the MRC and the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association which represents racehorse owners and trainers. Operational procedures and protocols to be implemented during racing will be provided to state and local officials for review.
“This is another important step toward a racing season at Canterbury Park,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “Determining a planned start date provides a timeline for those planning to participate in the 2020 race meet. The importance of this additional step and the cooperation required of all parties involved should not be underestimated. As in every industry during these times, the ability to remain open to change and agile enough to react and make decisions as needed will be crucial to success.”
Canterbury Park officials acknowledge in the request to the MRC that the racing season will likely be conducted with no or limited spectators for all or part of the 52 days. The request asks that the MRC delegate authority to its staff to work directly with racetrack officials and the HBPA to determine best post times to maximize handle and flexibility to alter racing days should those indicated in the request become oversaturated with other racetracks.