Final Three Days of 2015 Live Racing Begin Thursday

A P IS LOOSE - Wally's Choice Minnesota Classic Championship - 09-06-15 - R09 - CBY - 006

Free admission and Food Truck Festival cap longest meet since 1992

Canterbury Park completes its 70-day race meet, the longest at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack since 1992, with live racing Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Free admission will be offered each day. A Food Truck Festival highlights the final 11-race afternoon of thoroughbred action. Post time on Thursday and Friday is 6:30 p.m. and Saturday racing begins at 12:45 p.m.

The season, which began May 15, will conclude with increases in attendance as well as on-track and out-of-state handle, the dollars wagered on Canterbury’s races at other tracks, OTBs, and internet sites.

“The quality of racing at Canterbury Park has reached a new high thanks to the support of the local horsemen who have raced in Minnesota through thick and thin, and to the new owners and trainers who have taken Canterbury Park racing to the next level,” President Randy Sampson said. “The increased quality of racing and depth of competitiveness not only is exciting for fans at the track, but also has attracted new wagering customers throughout the country.”

Canterbury will have paid a record $14.1 million in purses when the horses cross the finish line in the season finale Saturday. The elevated purses sparked new interest in Minnesota racing and also revived a breeding industry in the state which in 2012 reached its lowest point since the advent of pari-mutuel racing in 1985.

In the summer of 2012, Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, entered into a cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement that calls for SMSC to contribute $75 million to horsemen purses over 10 years. The following year, the number of Minnesota-bred foals grew by 255 percent in response to the increase in purses. Those foals of 2013 raced for the first time this season as 2-year-olds.

“It was exciting to see that first crop of purse-induced 2-year-olds on the racetrack. They represent a promising future,” Sampson said. “The Minnesota breeding opportunities are as strong as ever.”

Last Sunday, the 22nd Minnesota Festival of Champions, a day of racing restricted to horses bred in the state, offered purses totaling $598,550, a record for the event.

Robertino Diodoro, a top 10 trainer nationally, will win his second consecutive training title at Canterbury. Jockey Leandro Goncalves, a multiple graded stakes winning rider spending his first meet locally, enters the final weekend with a seven-win lead over four-time champion rider Dean Butler. Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc., the winningest owners in the nation, will win their second leading owner title. Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc., also top owners at Canterbury in 2013, have won 29 races this season and have three horses entered this weekend.

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