Meet planned for May 15 through Sept. 12; MRC approval expected in December
Canterbury Park officials have submitted a 2020 racing dates request to the Minnesota Racing Commission asking for approval of a 65-day season beginning May 15 and concluding Sept. 12. Canterbury Park, located in Shakopee, Minn., is the state’s only thoroughbred and quarter horse racetrack. The MRC is expected to act on the request at its Dec. 19 commission meeting.
The proposed 2020 season will begin twelve days later than the recently concluded 2019 season that ran 66 days. Track officials made the decision to forgo racing on Kentucky Derby weekend, which includes the first Saturday in May, as it has done for the past three years and begin mid-month in order to attract more stables with race-ready horses for the beginning of the meet.
“Having horses on site that are ready to race is always a challenge in early May, especially when Kentucky Derby Day falls early this year on May 2,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “Pushing our meet back two weeks to coincide with the Preakness will allow our horse population, which winters in Arizona, Florida, Texas, and throughout the South, more time to get ready to race at Canterbury. This should result in better field size and better wagering opportunities for our guests.”
Kentucky Derby Day, with or without live racing, has historically attracted more wagering dollars at Canterbury than any other date on the calendar. Offerman expects that to be true again in 2020.
Purses are anticipated to exceed $14 million, at approximately $225,000 per day, an amount equal to 2019. A cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement reached with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of nearby Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, in 2012 will again supplement purses. The agreement extends through 2022 with more than $83 million going toward purse supplements and joint marketing of the two properties.
On the calendar is a proposed one-week break in the racing season when Canterbury hosts Twin Cities Summer Jam for the second time. The three-day music festival, July 23-25, is held in the track infield. Twin Cities Summer Jam officials today announced that Zac Brown Band will headline July 24 with the remaining acts to be announced Dec. 4.