Canterbury Park 2020 Racing Dates Approved By MRC

Canterbury Park’s 2020 thoroughbred and quarter horse racing season will run May 15 through Sept. 12, a 65-day meet approved Thursday by the Minnesota Racing Commission.

Thursday and Friday racing in 2020 will begin at 6:00 p.m. Saturday post time, which has historically been early afternoon, has been moved to 5 p.m. while Sundays and holiday Mondays will begin at 12:45 p.m. On July 3 and 4 racing will begin at 4 p.m. with fireworks displays to follow the racing program each night. A one-week break in the racing season will allow Canterbury to host the second annual Twin Cities Summer Jam July 23-25, a three-day music festival held in the racetrack infield.

Canterbury experimented with select Saturday evening programs during parts of the past four seasons and saw a positive impact on attendance, revenue related to food and beverage sales, and handle, leading to the 2020 post time change. Racing officials believe that out-of-state handle will improve dramatically on Saturday evenings due to increased exposure during a time window when fewer tracks are running. That exposure could also create familiarity amongst bettors that will positively impact its other racing days.

“We will run some of our most compelling race cards on Saturday evenings in 2020, as we have the past few years to great success,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “Showcasing our racing every Saturday night both locally and to the international wagering audience will continue to grow handle.”

The Northern Stars Racing Festival, which includes the Mystic Lake Derby, Mystic Lake Mile, and Lady Canterbury Stakes, will be Saturday, June 27. Made in Minnesota Night will be Saturday, Aug. 15 and includes the Minnesota Derby and Minnesota Oaks, each offering $100,000 purses. Additionally, the 27th Minnesota Festival of Champions worth more than $800,000 in total purse money will be held on Saturday, Sept. 5. The entire 2020 stakes schedule will be released in January.

Purses are anticipated to exceed $14 million, at approximately $225,000 per day, an amount equal to 2019. A 2012 cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement reached with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of nearby Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, will supplement purses by $7.28 million. The agreement extends through 2022 with more than $83 million going toward purse supplements and joint marketing of the two properties and the region known as RiverSouth-Land of Big Fun.

Canterbury’s promotional calendar will again include several popular events such as Corgis & Cupcakes and Indian Horse Relay. The promotional schedule will be announced when season table and single-day reserved seating sales begin in March.

Canterbury Park Seeks 65 Race Days For 2020 Season

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.

Andrew Offerman

“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.