By Noah Joseph
The month of August is an exciting month for Canterbury. One reason is the Mystic Lake Derby, the featured and richest race of the season. The race is for three year olds going one mile on the turf. Turf racing has been a part of Minnesota racing for several years, so it seemed about time to take a look at the history of turf racing in Minnesota
Turf racing began in Minnesota in 1986; however, the idea of turf racing was already planned when Canterbury opened the previous year. However, there wasn’t enough time to get a turf course ready, so it was introduced a year later.
The first race ever run on the turf was the Lady Canterbury, won by Sauna. Another turf attraction, while only run once, was the Canterbury Turf Classic Handicap, won by Treizieme. Over the years, races on the Canterbury lawn were won by top horses such as John Bullit, Princess Elaine, Balbonella, Tappiano, Capades, and many more.
When Canterbury reopened in 1995, turf racing was just as exciting and competitive as it was before. The return of turf racing in Minnesota saw horses like Honor the Hero and Go Go Jack crush their completion. Jest for a Trucker was named 1996 Canterbury Horse of the Year after several turf victories. 1997 saw K Z Bay upset the Lady Canterbury field on the lawn en route to one the most classic Canterbury moments. Recently, races on the Canterbury turf have been won by top horses such as Hay Dakota, Majestic Pride, One Mean Man, Nun the Less, Long On Value, Tubby Time, Teddy Time, A P Is Loose, and Dear Fay.
Turf racing has been a major force at Canterbury, and it will be for many years to come, proving that sometimes, the grass is greener on the other side.