The Canterbury Park barn area officially opened for business Thursday. The first van, arriving from Phoenix with a load of thoroughbreds from the barn of 2014 and 2015 leading trainer Robertino Diodoro, pulled through the stable gate that evening. Van drivers will keep busy hauling horses to fill the 65 stalls that Diodoro has been assigned.
Not far behind were horses for Nevada Litfin arriving from Oaklawn Park. The influx of equines is generally slow but steady in the first weeks; however the house should be full by June. More than 2,200 stall applications were submitted for the 1,550 existing stalls. Training on the main track is expected to commence April 29.
Visitors on opening night May 20 will see a new infield pond configuration. There are currently two ponds in the infield. The south pond is being drained while the north pond is being dredged and expanded. The drained pond will be filled and leveled with the intent of using the area for events including the Sept. 17 Festival Palomino which will coincide with the final day of the 2016 race meet. The long range vision includes permanent infrastructure such as betting windows, concessions, and restrooms.
Canterbury announced a significant takeout reduction Tuesday that was met with widespread approval from a major stakeholder in the industry: the horseplayer. Because of the takeout restructuring that makes Canterbury’s rake the lowest on average in the U.S., Canterbury moved up the Horseplayers Association of North America’s annual Track Ratings and is currently sixth in the standings. The track ratings evaluate several factors that result in a number that indicates “betting value” to the horseplayer. Here are the HANA Track Ratings.
The April edition of the HANA newsletter was also release this week and includes an interview with Canterbury VP of Racing Eric Halstrom. Get that newsletter here.