Minnesota Racehorse Engagement Project and Canterbury Park Offer New Ownership Options for 2021 Race Meet

As temperatures start to rise in Minnesota, so does the excitement for the 2021 racing season at Canterbury Park. The Midwestern track, which opens on May 18th, has a multitude of exciting opportunities for trainers, horses, and now future owners. Thanks in part to the relationships built with multiple ownership groups, both national and local, horse racing fans will have easy entry to the exciting experience of being a thoroughbred racehorse owner.

The Minnesota Racehorse Engagement Program (MNREP) is promoting several ownership opportunities on their website www.RacehorseMinnesota.com in 2021 that will provide easy and affordable entry to thoroughbred racehorse ownership.

One of these opportunities is provided by the 2021 Canterbury Park Racing Club. The Canterbury Racing Club, which was the first racing club introduced in the United States, has partnered with Wasabi Ventures Stables in 2021 to provide more horsepower via this one-of-a-kind club.  Interested parties can experience owning a stable of racehorses at Canterbury Park for an all-inclusive one-time membership fee of $250.  Membership offers several additional benefits at the track including free season’s pass, special events, and educational opportunities.

“The Canterbury Racing Club is a great way to introduce racehorse ownership to someone who wants to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership, learn more about ownership in general, and who enjoys the sociability of being part of a group of racing fans,” explains Joe Scurto, Executive Director for MNREP.

Empire Racing Stables returns to Canterbury after finishing 2019 as the Leading Owner of the Meet. The club looks to utilize the knowledge of three high percentage winning Canterbury Park trainers: Robertino Diordoro, Bernell Rhone and Karl Broberg. The group races across the country and prides itself on organized social gatherings with owners to get to know one another and enjoy the horses. Ownership opportunities start at $100.


Rocket Wrench Racing offers opportunity for new owners to enjoy the claiming game by claiming horses for their partnership while working alongside trainer Karl Broberg. The group consists of primarily fellow Minnesotans who enjoy getting together at the track to watch their horses and support their home state’s track.  5% ownership opportunities sell for $2,500.

“We look to claim horses with a proven record of success and then enter those horses in races where they can be competitive, and win,” says Rocket Wrench Racing Manager Justin Revak.

Ironhorse Racing Stable heads north for the first time, bringing their passion for success to Canterbury Park in 2021. The group, known for campaigning multiple stakes-winning champion Bucchero and Breeders’ Cup entrant Momos, is looking to start a 2-year-old at Canterbury Park for owners located in or around Minnesota, then continue racing the horse nationally, should he be successful.

“We are a no mark-up group that doesn’t have management fees, but we also know how to win,” says Ironhorse Racing Stable Managing Partner Harlan Malter. “We value our partners because they’re not just investors, they really are owners of the horse.”

Wasabi Ventures Stables will also offer their ever-expanding ownership opportunities, aside from the Canterbury Racing Club, and will be racing for the second year at Canterbury Park. Alongside trainer Tony Rengstorf, Wasabi owned horses hit the board in five out of six starts in 2020 and they look to improve on that record in 2021. Ownership with Wasabi can range from as little as a half percent to as much as 4.99 percent. Most investments start at under $200.

A recent addition to the menu of managed groups racing their horses at Canterbury this year is Grevelis Racing Stable.  The longtime local group is woven into the very fabric of racing at Canterbury. Managed by Ted and Heather Grevelis, the group offers larger percentage ownership opportunities, as well as a track record of success at Canterbury dating back to 2005. Ten percent ownership shares are listed at $2,000.

Racing kicks off at Canterbury Park on May 18 and will run through September 16. The racing partnerships are currently accepting new partners. More information can be found on the MNREP website.


The mission of the Minnesota Racehorse Engagement Project (MNREP) is to provide opportunities for Minnesotans to connect with racehorses, both active and retired, through engagement programs designed to provide unique and memorable experiences. We want to share this truly one-of-a-kind experience that happens when people and these exceptional equine athletes engage with each other.

Countdown to the Cup Contest Continues Saturday

With Breeders’ Cup just weeks away, it pays to handicap the prep races at major tracks across the country to be ready for Nov. 1 and 2.

Countdown to the Cup, the free-to-enter handicapping contest that features the best horses on the way to the 2019 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, pays weekly cash prizes and overall bonuses to the top players.

Keeneland opens its Fall meet Friday, and Saturday the Countdown to the Cup Contest includes the entire Keeneland card with its two graded stakes plus from Belmont the Champagne Stakes, Hill Prince Stakes, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, and Matron Stakes. Entry deadline this week is noon. Countdown to the Cup continues October 12 and 19.

Simply select one horse in each race and submit your entry card at the Clubhouse Information desk. Points will be awarded based on a mythical $20 across the board bet. A cap limits the points you can earn on a single race to 600 / 400 / 200.  Of course you must be 18 to play. Entrants must have an MVP Rewards card to play and can sign-up for membership and receive the card instantly at the MVP desk in the main entrance. There are also minimum wager requirements to receive full prize value.

Weekly Prizes for Top Scores:

1st:  $200 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll

($20 if minimum not met)

2nd-5th: $100 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll

($10 if minimum not met)

Overall Prizes for Top Accumulated Scores:

1st – 5th: $100 Breeders’ Cup Bankroll

($10 if minimum not met)

If you would like to reserve a clubhouse table for Breeders’ Cup visit here for the details and reserve online.


by Jim Wells

When you ask him a question, be prepared for an answer that is not black and white or yes or no, that is somewhat involved and complex yet easy to track nonetheless.

Then again, portraying a lifetime in the horse business is not a simple task, and it might help to know that Jack Walsh was first and foremost a highly respected defense attorney during a long and distinguished career. When is the last time you got a simple answer from an attorney?

Walsh comes closer than any, although there are plenty of detours and excursions along the way that prevent an absolutely clean, straight story line. Still, the motives in his life narrative are of the purest and simplest form, beginning with the love of his children Laura, Julie, Jackie, and Kathy, his grandchildren, and of the equine world itself.

The start was basic, a Shetland pony in 1965 for three-year-old Laura, the first of the four daughters. By the time she turned eleven, their farm between Stillwater and Somerset included an indoor riding arena, 180 by 60 feet in size, a fixture still standing on the property, and Laura was riding in quarter horse shows.

Let’s skip ahead a few years to when twenty or more quarter horse broodmares occupied the premises _ a spendy venture, Walsh called it, and an enterprise that ended in 1979, when he sold the mares and auctioned sixty head of quarter horses he bred.

He also lectured on Equine Law at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for some seventeen years. Somewhere along that timeline a fellow named D. Wayne Lukas, who once trained quarter horses near Rochester while teaching in LaCrosse, gave a talk at the University and paid a visit to the Walsh farm afterward. Walsh’s enterprise was well known to the serious practitioners of quarter horse racing in the area. Lukas was also in the midst of making the switch to thoroughbreds around that time, and Walsh would follow suit with the opening of Canterbury Downs in 1985, running a horse named Una’s Friend, his first thoroughbred, trained by Dave Crandall of White Bear Lake.

“The first time we ran, I got a check,” Walsh, 86, recalled, “and I remember thinking, how easy is this?”

Time would disabuse him of such notions but not deter him from the business of racing or his whole-hearted involvement in the industry. He tried cases before the American Quarter Horse Racing Association in Amarillo, Texas, and represented more than 100 horsemen before the Minnesota Racing Commission.

The best thoroughbred he bred? “Maybe Shot of Somerset,” he said. “A pretty nice horse.”

The thoroughbreds he bred all carried the name of Somerset, homage, of course, to the nearby Wisconsin village. “There was a period of time when Jeff Hilger, Curt Sampson, Dennis Strohkirch and myself were some of the biggest breeders in the state, but not anymore,” he said.

Times change and people change, but Walsh has stayed involved from the start, in many ways. He served on the board of the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association for several years and the local chapter of the HBPA as well, a body of which he is currently serving out his term as president.

Hilger, a retired breeder, HBPA president and member of Canterbury Park’s Hall of Fame, attests to the respect Walsh has in the legal field with the following story:

Hilger was on jury duty in Washington County in the early 1990s and overheard two men debating a point when one of them bellowed, ‘who do you think you are, Jack Walsh?’

Walsh’s easy-going style during conversation betrays the hypnotic effect he must have had on the men and women in the jury box with his sonorous, baritone voice. Yet the more salient point is that he comes across as a good-natured, honorable person seeking only justice, and people who know him well say he is absolutely that. “In the thirty years I’ve known Jack, I have not heard a person say a bad word about him,” Hilger added.

Raised on the East Side of St. Paul, he attended Cretin High School, the College of St. Thomas and then the William Mitchell College of Law.

He was also a skater, for the St Paul, Minneapolis and University Club figure skating organizations from 1951 to 1954.

Walsh, at one time, had a pasture full of cattle at his farm, too, but it is his annual bison feed the Saturday after Thanksgiving for which he is noted, with more than 100 invitees often attending.

He was absolutely dumbstruck upon hearing he would be included as one of this year’s Canterbury Hall of Fame inductees. “It was the furthest thing from my mind,” he said, “to be included alongside people like the Sampsons, and the Schenians and so many others.”

Then again, if more supporting evidence is necessary, there is this comment Hilger once made to Walsh: “I’ve never known anyone who spent more money in horse racing and made less than you.”


2018 Thoroughbred Yearling Sale

The Minnesota Thoroughbred Association will host its annual MTA Yearling Sale on Sunday, August 19 in the Canterbury Park Expo Center. Doors will open at 3 p.m. on Sunday and the live auction-style sale will begin at 4 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

This year the sale will bring in 45 yearlings, all of which are registered Minnesota bred. A variety of fillies, colts, and some geldings will be available.

Horsemen can preview this year’s stock from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday evening prior to the sale. This will give owners and trainers a chance to meet with consigners and get a closer look at the yearlings. “The preview is a good opportunity for potential buyers to observe more closely. They can see the horses walked outside of the stalls and confirm quality,” said Kay King, Executive Director of the MTA.

In the past, the sale has been held during live race days and on Mondays. This led to smaller crowd sizes and less opportunity to see the horses in the daylight. Due to the start of Wednesday racing however, Sundays have opened up and will “allow for greater flexibility,” said King.

For someone new to the sale, King explains that attendees can expect to find people from all areas of the horse racing community at the event. “It is almost like a social hour,” she said. Though there are areas set up close to the stage for serious bidding, there is also a bar area and tables for horsemen to observe and socialize. “The multiple viewing options give people, who are maybe considering horse ownership, a chance to come and observe how a sale works,” King added.

Auctioneer, Brian Rigby will lead the event, as he has in past years. To join him, Brian Arrigoni, Canterbury Park’s Racing Analyst, will be there to report the horse pedigree.

Last year, the sale was streamed on MTA Facebook Live and will be again this year for those who cannot make it, but would still like to observe. Viewers will also have a chance to ask questions and have them answered on Facebook by event staff during the sale.

“Each year, we try and make this event more efficient and accessible for everyone involved,” King said.

For more information on the upcoming sale please visit: http://minnesotabred.com/mta-2018-yearling-sale/ Print copies of the sale catalog are available in the HBPA and racing offices, the horsemen’s bookkeeping office and the track level information booth and card club reception desks.

Mutuel Madness

By Noah Joseph

Everyone has something they enjoy when visiting Canterbury Park. For some, it’s just watching the races, while for others, it’s the chance to win some money. Horse racing is one of a few sports in which wagers can be placed legally. In fact, without wagering, horse racing wouldn’t exist. While some bets produce small payouts, some pay huge amounts.

The most commonly placed wager is a $2 bet, the minimum bet for win, place, and show wagers. The highest $2 win payout in track history occurred not that long ago. In 2015, Congregation, under jockey Jenna Joubert, payed $161 to win. The highest $2 place payoff is actually higher than the win payoff. Bask in the Wind payed $192.60 to place in 1990. The highest show payoff was set by Turtle Mountain, who payed $122.00 to show in 2009.

Exotic wagers, which are bets that have the option to use one or more horses in multiple race legs, or combinations, have a tendency to pay more.

  • The highest exacta payoff occurred when Elroho and Colonel Jerry paid $3,308.60 in 1987.
  • The highest trifecta took place when Clever Endeavor, Gottcha Silver, and Heartofdemi paid $70,086.20 in 2013.
  • The highest superfecta happened in 2014 when Brooktown, Oneta Sugar, Seafarer, Zeta Zody paid $145,338.00 (for a $2 payout).
  • The highest daily double paid $3,156.00 between Pendrug and Balistico in 1988.
  • That same year, the highest pick three occurred between Talc’s Girl, Lonely Beach, and Fourstardave, in which the pick three paid $51,030.00.
  • The largest pick four payout occurred in 2013 with Clever Endeavor, Gianna’s Music Man, Thatlleaveamark, and Sam Wayne winning. It paid $82,051.40 for a $2 bet.
  • The highest pick 5 paid $41,807.40 in 2016
  • And the biggest pick five jackpot, which unlike the regular pick five requires the bettor to pick five consecutive winners and have the only winning ticket, happened last year, and it paid $312,130 for a 50 cent bet.
  • The highest payout this season was a pick five jackpot that paid $60,805.15 on June 10. With just a bit more than half the season to go, look for the tote board to light up with some more big payouts…. and you just might be the big winner.

It Pays to Breed a Racehorse in Minnesota

The Minnesota Racing Commission this week released information on awards issued through the Minnesota Breeder Fund to racehorse breeders and stallion owners for all three breeds racing in the state, thoroughbred, quarter horse, and standardbred.

More than $526,000 in awards will be paid later this month to those in the state breeding industry. Over $5 million in purse money was distributed to owners of successful Minnesota-bred racehorses, which includes $337,000 in Minnesota-bred purse supplements.

The purpose of the Minnesota Breeders’ Fund is to encourage the breeding and racing of quality horses. Stallion awards promote the introduction of high quality studs standing for the breeding season in Minnesota.

Breeders Fund monies are derived from wagering, both live and simulcast, on horse races at Canterbury Park, Running Aces, and through Minnesotans wagering through any number of ADWs. The awards are determined based on performance of individual horses.

In October, the MRC appointed members to the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Fund Advisory Committee.   The seven-member advisory committee includes three standing positions, which include Andrew Offerman of Canterbury Park , Cameron Mahlum of the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association, Pete Mattson of the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. The committee also has two 1-year term appointees, Jeff Hilger and Dave Dayon, and two 2-year appointees, Lisa Duoos and Ted Grevelis.  Mahlum, Mattson, Hilger, Duoos, and Dayon’s Win N Wood Farm are active breeders and will receive Breeders Fund awards in 2017.

“We look forward to working with the advisory committee to further fuel the breeding industry in Minnesota and expand the economic footprint our industry has  within the State,” said MRC Vice Chair Jim Lane.  According to an MRC press release the Fund will distribute more than $800,000 to Minnesota Thoroughbred breeders, stallion owners, and owners of Minnesota bred horses in 2017.  The committee will advise the MRC on the disbursement of Thoroughbred breeders’ funds and look for opportunities to promote breeding in Minnesota.


Quarter Horse Breeders Awards

Quarter Horse Stallion Awards

Quarter Horse Bonus Awards

Thoroughbred Breeders Awards

Thoroughbred Stallion Awards

Video: The Clocker

Mark%20Anderson%207-25-13The Clocker serves the important role of recording every daily workout that takes place on the track each and every morning during the racing season. Mark Anderson, former jockey, is serving as Canterbury’s clocker for the 2013 racing season. In the latest installment of Canterbury Spotlight, he explains what goes into tracking the works on a daily basis.


Video: Michelle Benson