The Canterbury Park Hall of Fame Committee today announced the Class of 2019 inductees. The newest members, who will be honored in an August 31 ceremony at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack, include thoroughbred trainer Francisco Bravo; the late Ralph Strangis who served as Minnesota Racing Commission Chairman; and thoroughbred owners and breeders Joni and Barry Butzow. These inductees join a group of more than 40 individuals and horses that comprise the best of Minnesota racing.
Bravo’s training career began in 1992 at what was then Canterbury Downs. The track closed following that season and reopened in 1995 as Canterbury Park with Bravo training the Minnesota-bred filly Argenti to five consecutive wins, including two stakes, and Horse of the Meet honors. Bravo is in the top ten in all-time wins, starts, and earnings in track history.
Strangis served twice as Chairman of the MRC, from 1989 to 1992 and again from 2013 until his death in 2018. He was also an ardent racing fan and racehorse owner. He is credited by many for saving live racing in Minnesota by presiding over a vote in 1992 which would not allow Ladbroke Racing Corporation to operate simulcast racing in the state without a commitment to live racing. This led to Ladbroke’s departure, the shuttering of the track, and the opportunity for Minnesota businessmen to purchase the property in 1994.
Joni and Barry Butzow of Eden Prairie, Minn. are long-time racehorse owners and breeders, both locally and nationally. Their silks have been carried by stakes winners around the country. In addition to being well-known for their racing operation, they are also greatly appreciated and respected for their generosity and philanthropy in the racing community.
The Canterbury Park Hall of Fame was founded in 1995 to recognize people and horses that have made important and lasting contributions to the racing industry within the state. The selection committee consists of representatives of local horsemen organizations, local media, and Canterbury Park.