Horsemen, Join Us for Our 2019 Live Racing Season

Canterbury Park is enthusiastically planning for the 2019 live racing season, our 25th under current management.

Looking to build on a fantastic 2018 season that saw record purses and handle, our 2019 meet begins May 3. And we have several exciting announcements about this summer and the 66 race days on tap.

Track Improvements Fall 2018 4Track Improvements

Following motorcycle racing in September 2018, Canterbury Park took advantage of the exposed surface to complete extensive track improvements, which included resetting the limestone base to the original elevations as constructed in 1985.

You can catch up on the renovation project in this photo journal of the efforts.

Condition Book and Stall Application

The 2019 stall application and condition book are now available online. Get the details you need to plan for our upcoming meet. Stall applications are due Monday, March 18.

Starter Incentives

Canterbury Park officials recently announced enhanced incentives — including a $500 per-start minimum during our first condition book (May 3 to June 2) — to lure trainers and owners with race-ready thoroughbreds by offering programs that:

DISCO WAGON - Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby - 07-08-18 - R04 - CBY - Stretch• Reward those that arrive and start horses early in the meet.

• Pay more purse money to all starters: $250 per race minimum for thoroughbreds and a $125 per race minimum for quarter horses.

• Help with costs of shipping through a loan program for qualified applicants.

Find more details about starter incentive programs on our blog.

Stakes Schedules

Stakes schedules for both our thoroughbred and quarter horse meet have been released.

Best Moments of 2018 Canterbury ParkThe 2019 thoroughbred stakes schedule features 31 races worth $2.235 million, including the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, which highlights the Northern Stars Racing Festival on June 22. Last year, the inaugural event produced a Canterbury Park wagering record of $2.068 million.

• More on the thoroughbred stakes schedule

Meanwhile, our quarter horse schedule features 17 stakes races, including the premier race, the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, with a purse estimated to reach $150,000, set for July 7.

• More on the quarter horse stakes schedule

New Staff

Matt CrawfordCanterbury Park’s 2019 live race meet will welcome two new racing officials.

This winter, Matt Crawford was hired as director of racing and racing secretary. He brings a wealth of experience in the industry to Canterbury Park, most recently at Zia Park in New Mexico and at Sam Houston Race Park in Texas. Previously, Crawford worked as a thoroughbred and quarter horse trainer.

Johnnie JamisonAlso, Johnnie Jamison has been hired as track superintendent. He, too, brings years of experience to the table. In addition to his work in track maintenance, Jamison has held positions in other parts of the industry, including starter and racing office management, and he was also a trainer.

Looking Ahead to the 2019 Meet

With all the preparation going into the 2019 meet, Canterbury Park officials are excited about the summer ahead.

Track President Randy Sampson with trainer Mac Robertson
Track President Randy Sampson with trainer Mac Robertson

“I am very excited about 2019 as we celebrate our 25th racing season and the successes we have had as a company,” Track President Randy Sampson said. “This is quite an accomplishment. We started in 1994 with simulcast racing, a few special events, and with many wondering how we could make horse racing work in Minnesota when others before us had failed. In 1995 live racing returned and we bolstered the events schedule. Twenty-five years later we have a card casino, a flourishing events and catering business, and racing continues to thrive.”

Meanwhile, Senior Director of Racing Andrew Offerman is looking forward to the meet as a whole, as well as the excitement of the major stakes races.

“We have consistently improved the quality of racing here at Canterbury Park, and we look to build on that momentum in 2019,” he said. “We’re thankful for the horsemen and all they do to enhance the live racing experience at our track.”

 

Canterbury Park’s 2018 Season Offers Larger Purses, More Race Days

Starter Incentive Program rewards trainers and owners; stall applications due March 26

Canterbury Park’s thoroughbred racing season begins Friday, May 4 with an expanded schedule of 70 race days and a more lucrative starter incentive program.

Total purses are projected to exceed $15 million, a record level for the Shakopee, Minn., racetrack, with a per-day average of approximately $215,000.In 2017, the Leg Up Fund financially helped five injured jockeys with payments totaling just over $10,000.

Canterbury Park racing officials, with the assistance of the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, have increased available funding for the starter incentive program, creating a system that rewards stables that come to the meet with ready-to-race thoroughbreds.

“We are hopeful that trainers will come to Canterbury Park in 2018 ready to take advantage of this starter incentive program,” Randy Sampson, Canterbury Park CEO, said. “We believe that this program will attract more race-ready horses to start our meet and, in turn, will increase field sizes in the early days of our 2018 season.”

The $150,000 program, which continues until the funds are exhausted, offers the following bonuses for eligible horses:

  • $750 Bonus ($600 to Owner and $150 to Trainer) if the horse makes its first start at Canterbury Park from May 4 – May 12.
  • $500 Bonus ($400 to Owner and $100 to Trainer) if the horse makes its first start at Canterbury Park from May 18 – May 28.
  • $250 Bonus ($200 to Owner and $50 to Trainer) if the horse makes its first start at Canterbury on or after June 1.

 

For example, a field containing eight eligible horses would add the following amounts to the already published purse:

  • May 4 – May 12: $6,000
  • May 18 – May 28: $4,000
  • On or after June 1: $2,000

 

“We anticipate a total purse increase of approximately 10 percent in 2018,” Sampson said. “We also have added three days to the meet, equaling the most we have run in Canterbury Park history, and have increased purses in both overnight races and in our stakes schedule.”

The enhancements to the purse structure and starter incentive program have attracted the attention of new stables interested in racing at Canterbury this spring as the deadline to apply for stall space approaches.

Canterbury Park stall applications are due Monday, March 26. All forms pertaining to Canterbury Park’s 2018 Meet, including full terms and conditions of the Starter Incentive Program, can be found online at www.canterburypark.com/horsemen. The stable area opens for training April 20.

KARE11: Poised for a Historic Season

KAREKARE11 ran a story earlier this week noting that Canterbury Park is poised for a historic season. Full barns, a breeding industry on the improve and anticipation of better racing promise to make this the most memorable season in Canterbury Park history. Learn more about the upcoming season and the state of Minnesota’s breeding industry by watching the video below:

KARE11: Poised for a Historic Season

KAREKARE11 ran a story earlier this week noting that Canterbury Park is poised for a historic season. Full barns, a breeding industry on the improve and anticipation of better racing promise to make this the most memorable season in Canterbury Park history. Learn more about the upcoming season and the state of Minnesota’s breeding industry by watching the video below:

This Summer at Canterbury

Canterbury ActionSpring is finally here and a new live racing season is almost upon us. This meet projects to be one of the best – and most competitive – in Canterbury history. In total, five stakes will be contested each worth at least $100,000. Additionally, a new tote board and other new amenities will great you upon your return. What else can you look forward to?

Fuller Fields – The purse agreement with Mystic Lake has caught the attention of horsemen across the country, and this season is the first where we get to see its full effect. With this new purse money, new stables from all corners have assembled to compete for it. Conditions that used to tote compact fields should increase in size across the board, creating a better betting experience for all.

I’m personally excited to see how the new stables influence betting in conditions that used to contain many familiar faces every two weeks, as what used to be dominant favorites may become at least a more tempting price if not the second or third choices. In theory the snowball effect created will boost payoffs, pools, and overall gambling appeal this season. Horsemen and gamblers benefit from this new deal and this summer should set a new bar for wagering excitement.

Midwest in the Midwest – While you’ve likely heard the name, seen the green silks and probably lost to one of their steeds at one point or another, Midwest Thoroughbreds have made their way to Canterbury Park for this summer. Their presence around the country is dominant and don’t expect the stable to enter like a lamb in Shakopee. Their sheer size and volume of horses fitting all conditions make them viable in many pages of the condition book, including stakes.

While the claiming game is Midwest’s bread & butter, their penchant for moving horses up when claimed cannot be ignored. Do not count out a horse that’s been making his or her way against sellers, as they generally aren’t entered elsewhere without sound reason and can usually find the right spot to catch an allowance win. Cory Jensen, a familiar name around Canterbury, handles the stable for their first foray in Minnesota and knows this track better than most of the new barns attempting to conquer Canterbury.

In 2012, Midwest Thoroughbreds won 542 races throughout the country – nearly 400 more races than any other owner in North America. Their presence at Canterbury this summer is a direct result of the purse agreement with the SMSC and confirms that Canterbury Park is a venue on the rise!

New and Improved Visual Experience – The toteboard has been the most talked about improvement this off-season at Canterbury, and it is one of a few visual upgrades at the Park for the 2013 meet. The bigger video board is the centerpiece of the new board, surrounded by all digital displays for odds, ads and other promotions that will run throughout the racing day. New graphics will also greet the new board from end to end, so make your way out to the apron on your visit to get a good look.

The paddock is also receiving a face lift of sorts with some new features. The pre-race show (also changing a bit for this summer) stage has a new look and there’s a new video display board in the paddock to view the races and display the odds in a digital format should you wish to stay behind the grandstand through the action. As always, televisions are plentiful throughout the facility and are continually being upgraded to enhance live and simulcast racing viewing.

Earlier Weeknight Post Times & More Weeknight Races – Weeknight first post times (Thursdays and Fridays) have been moved up to 6:30pm to accommodate the fact that many of these cards will host 9 or 10 races as opposed to the 8 or 9 race cards that have been held in recent seasons. During the quarter horse portion of the meet, quarter horse races will most often be run first with thoroughbred races completing the card.

Last chance on Labor Day? Not anymore! – Ever looked at the calendar in August and realized that last trip to the track isn’t going to work with your Labor Day plans? We have added six days to the schedule this year, extending the meet’s tenure for two weekends beyond Labor Day. Who doesn’t want more racing?

With new changes throughout the facility and new challengers throughout the barn area, get ready for a great summer at Canterbury Park! We’ll see you out here!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann serves as the Track Analyst for Hawthorne Racecourse in Cicero, Illinois and the summer of 2013 will mark her third year in a similar capacity at Canterbury Park.

Video: Michelle Benson

Photo: Coady Photography

Canterbury Gets a Snow Day

58DF1977Not even stalwarts who have been on the grounds from the beginning could remember another such occasion. Canterbury Park got a snow day on Friday. School was closed.

Not even local trainers decided to budge from home and get a jump on the competition. They preferred not to wind up dealing with three inches of muck that lay beneath five inches of snow that lay throughout the stable area.

Besides, most of the barns that had heat didn’t have water.

…to watch his woods fill up with snow

My little horse must think it queer

to stop without a farmhouse near…

BOBBY FROST

And, with apologies to Robert Frost, there wasn’t a horse on the grounds Thursday morning to have a queer thought or to register an expression of any other nature. Stall superintendent Mark Stancato was encouraging trainers, some of them en route, to hold off another day or so if they could, until conditions improve.

The barn doors were scheduled to open on Friday and stables were expected to begin arriving for the opening of the most anticipated meet since 1995 and before that in 1985.

Stancato was at the track for five seasons during its first run and has worked every meet since 1996 after it reopened in 1995. He does not recall another year that the local countryside looked as if it were early January instead of mid-April on barn-opening day. Nor does anyone else.

“The perimeter road has been plowed but if you pull up in a heavy truck you’ll be dealing with deep muck on the barn roads,” Stancato, the phone glued to an ear, told trainer after trainer.

By noon on Friday nary a single trailer had passed through the stable gates and Stancato was expecting only trainer Tim Padilla with a load of 10 horses late in the day.

The racing office itself was empty aside from Stancato, trainer Luis Canchari and Dr. Christy Klatt in the veterinarians’ office until racing steward Tom Davis walked in, followed shortly thereafter by veterinarian Dave Sorum, who was immediately greeted by an interloper with a question.

“Hey, was that you ridin’ a bull at some cowboy doin’s in Cave Creek, Az., winter before last?”

Indeed it was, although the affirmative reply came with a rather sheepish grin.

Also on hand with the announcement that Eddie Martin, the cagey Cajun who rode in Shakopee year before last, will return this summer was the rider’s agent, Chuck Costanzo, who had a promise for a waiting scribe.

“I’ll make sure that Eddie talks to the press this year,” he said. Eddie, for anyone unfamiliar with the situation, slipped away from reporter after reporter, sometimes disappearing before their very eyes, during the 2011 meet.

Canterbury is restricting the size of stables this meet for the first time in years largely because it has become an exceptionally attractive summertime location with purse sizes guaranteed by last year’s agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. A recent visit to Turf Paradise in Phoenix confirmed this increased interest. The trailers on the backside there were primarily pointed north in anticipation of the awaiting trip when that meet ends the first week of May.

First, however, the Shakopee grounds will have to undergo a melting and thawing process, although that is expected within the next few days.

The track will undergo some significant changes in time for the start of this year’s meet on Friday, May 17. Post time for Thursday and Friday cards is 6:30 p.m., half and hour earlier than last year. First post on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays continues at 1:30 p.m.

The infield will take on a dramatically altered look with a new, considerably larger and updated tote board. Patrons who take in the paddock should appreciate the 25 by 12 (that’s feet, of course) video screen in that area of the track.

In another change, the quarter horse races will lead off the Thursday and Friday cards. In one last change for the currently mucky stable area there is a new rule this year:

No dogs allowed.

That includes the stalls as well.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Less Than a Month…

Tote BoardWith just less than a month until the 2013 racing season begins, there is much happening at Canterbury Park. The construction stage of the new infield toteboard is on schedule for completion in early May. Then the technically inclined folks get involved to make it work. Evidently the 150 feet of digital capability and video monitor twice the size of the one being replaced require a bit more work than simply plugging them in and hitting the power button.

Also in the mix is a 12 x 25 foot video board in the paddock area, a new addition that should be quite impactful. The main lobby is undergoing a remodel as well and that should be complete soon.

Canterbury will also present a new look for viewers both in house and around the country as the graphics for our broadcast are getting a facelift.

Horse owners are buzzing about the larger purses and the prospects for their equine athletes. Hope runs high in April without a doubt.

The Minnesota Thoroughbred Association (MTA) is hosting ownership seminars this spring and summer, the first one is offered Saturday, May 4. This is a free event and a good chance to learn more about the sport. Details are available here.

Partnerships are a good way to get into the ownership side of racing. A partnership, much like splitting a large pick six wager, allows you to share the risk and still enjoy the upside. The Canterbury Racing Club attracted a very large club membership in its fifth year and will continue to focus on education and enjoyment of ownership while explaining in detail the costs that go with it. There are many others that offer partnerships at various levels. The MTA can be a resource for finding them. Before joining any partnership or group, be sure to find out all the details and costs up front.

A fairly new group is Lucky Horseshoe Racing. They operate in a manner similar to Canterbury Racing Club, offering a one-time payment of $250 + a $50 administration fee for the season.

What you need to know going in is that there are no certainties in racing. There are dates in books and races that fit your horse but getting there is never easy… and winning is a luxury. This summer Canterbury will run about 700 races. There will be 700 winners. There will be 1,600 horses stabled here. Fewer than half the horses racing at Canterbury will win. You can want to win and you can hope to win but you cannot count on winning. Which means that owning a horse should be an enjoyable experience shared with friends and family. Not a means to paying the mortgage.

I glanced at Lucky Horseshoe Racing’s website and that seems to be their focus. Have fun as a group. Find a trainer that can communicate and a horse that can be competitive and learn about the game. Enjoy a day or night at the races and a morning visiting the stable area. And hope…

Road to Kentucky Contest Continues

This Saturday’s featured track is Keeneland with the Lexington Stakes serving as the double point race. Post time and contest deadline is noon.

There is weekly prize money to be had and no reason not to take a shot at the 10-race affair.

It doesn’t look like any of the Lexington entrants are serious Derby horses but the winner gets 20 points and that puts them in the field if the connections so choose.

Illinois Derby onTap for Saturday

It is an embarrassment that the Illinois Derby was left off the Derby trail in an act that appears to be more spiteful than logical. So Hawthorne changed the date and the race now serves as a prep for the Preakness. It should be a good card in Chicago. Be sure to check www.Hawthorneracecourse.com to get Angela Hermann’s selections.

Less Than a Month…

Tote BoardWith just less than a month until the 2013 racing season begins, there is much happening at Canterbury Park. The construction stage of the new infield toteboard is on schedule for completion in early May. Then the technically inclined folks get involved to make it work. Evidently the 150 feet of digital capability and video monitor twice the size of the one being replaced require a bit more work than simply plugging them in and hitting the power button.

Also in the mix is a 12 x 25 foot video board in the paddock area, a new addition that should be quite impactful. The main lobby is undergoing a remodel as well and that should be complete soon.

Canterbury will also present a new look for viewers both in house and around the country as the graphics for our broadcast are getting a facelift.

Horse owners are buzzing about the larger purses and the prospects for their equine athletes. Hope runs high in April without a doubt.

The Minnesota Thoroughbred Association (MTA) is hosting ownership seminars this spring and summer, the first one is offered Saturday, May 4. This is a free event and a good chance to learn more about the sport. Details are available here.

Partnerships are a good way to get into the ownership side of racing. A partnership, much like splitting a large pick six wager, allows you to share the risk and still enjoy the upside. The Canterbury Racing Club attracted a very large club membership in its fifth year and will continue to focus on education and enjoyment of ownership while explaining in detail the costs that go with it. There are many others that offer partnerships at various levels. The MTA can be a resource for finding them. Before joining any partnership or group, be sure to find out all the details and costs up front.

A fairly new group is Lucky Horseshoe Racing. They operate in a manner similar to Canterbury Racing Club, offering a one-time payment of $250 + a $50 administration fee for the season.

What you need to know going in is that there are no certainties in racing. There are dates in books and races that fit your horse but getting there is never easy… and winning is a luxury. This summer Canterbury will run about 700 races. There will be 700 winners. There will be 1,600 horses stabled here. Fewer than half the horses racing at Canterbury will win. You can want to win and you can hope to win but you cannot count on winning. Which means that owning a horse should be an enjoyable experience shared with friends and family. Not a means to paying the mortgage.

I glanced at Lucky Horseshoe Racing’s website and that seems to be their focus. Have fun as a group. Find a trainer that can communicate and a horse that can be competitive and learn about the game. Enjoy a day or night at the races and a morning visiting the stable area. And hope…

Road to Kentucky Contest Continues

This Saturday’s featured track is Keeneland with the Lexington Stakes serving as the double point race. Post time and contest deadline is noon.

There is weekly prize money to be had and no reason not to take a shot at the 10-race affair.

It doesn’t look like any of the Lexington entrants are serious Derby horses but the winner gets 20 points and that puts them in the field if the connections so choose.

Illinois Derby onTap for Saturday

It is an embarrassment that the Illinois Derby was left off the Derby trail in an act that appears to be more spiteful than logical. So Hawthorne changed the date and the race now serves as a prep for the Preakness. It should be a good card in Chicago. Be sure to check www.Hawthorneracecourse.com to get Angela Hermann’s selections.

Any Day Now…

snowThe Canterbury Park stable area was scheduled to open Monday with the training track opening Tuesday. Mother Nature dropped the hammer this week in the form of a snowy mess, necessitating a delay to the scheduled opening. The backside will open April 19, the training track April 20 and the main track April 22 as originally planned (WEATHER PERMITTING).

There is however no truth to the rumor that new track superintendent Javier Barajas, upon seeing the weather forecast, immediately caught a return flight to Dubai where he spends his winters.

While the arrival of horses mid-month will be a trickle, by the end of May it should be a steady flow and by opening day nearly a full barn area is expected. The 2,500+ stall applications were a record for Canterbury Park and for the first time in nearly forever the 1,600 stalls will be filled. For horse players this is a cause to rejoice as it will translate to larger, more competitive racing and better wagering. The days of 42% winning favorites should be gone.

We will keep readers informed as trainers and horses arrive for the meet. Expect those that have been here for years, including Mac Robertson, to return along with many new barns. The jockey colony should take on a new look but until riders pull through the stable gate you never know for sure that they will ply their trade in Shakopee. Jockey agent Pete Antonucci did make it known that he will be representing Dean Butler and Lori Keith, a solid one-two punch.

Road to Kentucky

This week’s free-to-enter Road to Kentucky Contest features all races from Oaklawn Park plus the Blue Grass from Keeneland. Remember that Oaklawn has an earlier post time for their 12-race card and will begin at noon.

This is the final weekend of major prep races for the Derby with the Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass each offering qualifying points of 100-40-20-10 to the first four horses. The standings indicate that 20 is the current cutoff for the field of 20. There will be defections along the way but those lacking at least that level need to get serious this weekend.

In the Arkansas Derby, Den’s Legacy, from the Baffert barn, is sitting on that number. He closed well on the rail in The Rebel and figures to make another bid Saturday. War Academy, also a Baffert animal, has zero points but is receiving attention from various handicappers including one very prominent Canterbury analyst. A top two finish puts him in the Derby, a third puts him on the fence, and anything worse makes him a Preakness possibility. He is the 2-1 morning line favorite.

Frac Daddy showed promise as a 2-year-old but has not delivered at three. As a contest play, he might be worth a look and is 15-1 on the line.

Local ‘capper The Oracle suggests that the Kentucky Derby winner is contained in this Arkansas Derby field; however, he will not reveal who exactly that is.

The Blue Grass attracted a full field of 14 led by morning line favorite Uncaptured. The Casse trainee has 30 points. Rydilluc drew the 13 hole. He is three for four with all his wins on the turf. Keeneland is synthetic so conventional thought is that his form transfers well. Tough post in a tough field.

West Hills Giant at 20-1 is an interesting colt. He is a cut below but has speed and might find the front like he did in the Gotham. Getting nine furlongs is the question.

Palace Malice, off a troubled trip in the Louisiana Derby, is 8-1. Horses find trouble but his was enough to merit a long look here and likely at a better price than the 7/2 at Fair Grounds.

Win Willy poised to surpass $1 million in earnings

Owned by Jer-Mar Stables of Minneapolis, Win Willy is entered in the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap Saturday. A top four finish will put him over the $1 million mark in earnings. The big closer trained by Mac Robertson has his work cut out for him as he faces multiple stakes winning Optimizer and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned along with a host of other top older horses. Cliff Berry is named to ride.