Robert Junk to return to Canterbury Park as Racing Secretary

Canterbury Park racing officials today announced that Robert Junk will return to the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack as Director of Racing and Racing Secretary, a position he held previously from 2016 through 2018 before leaving for a similar job at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. Because Turf Paradise conducts racing during a timeframe that Canterbury is not running, Junk, with the cooperation of both tracks, will continue in his position at Turf Paradise and rejoin the Canterbury racing office in early May. Canterbury’s 2020 season is expected to run 65 days from May 15 through Sept. 12, after which Junk will return to Phoenix.

“It was a difficult decision to leave Canterbury Park in 2018 but the opportunity in Phoenix, which is home for me, required a year-round commitment at that time,” Junk said. “I’m fortunate that Canterbury and Turf Paradise could make this happen so that I can work for both. I am very familiar with the horsemen and the racing staff at Canterbury. I am thrilled to rejoin them and the excitement that live racing offers in Shakopee.”

Junk, 58, has been racing secretary at racetracks in New Mexico including Sunland Park and Ruidoso Downs where he directed the running of the All American Futurity, the richest race in American Quarter Horse racing, 13 times. Junk worked at various positions in racing offices across the Southwest in the early stages of his career and also was jockey agent for Canterbury Park Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens.

“Rob was well-liked and did a good job during his first tenure at Canterbury Park so having him back in the racing secretary’s office is a great fit,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “We saw many positive developments in our racing program under Rob and expect the same with his return.”

Junk’s hire, as with all key racing officials, must be approved by the Minnesota Racing Commission. The approval along with that of the 2020 live racing dates is expected at the Dec. 19 MRC meeting. The 2020 stakes schedule and condition book will be complete in January with stall applications due in March.

Robert Junk named Racing Secretary at Canterbury Park

Canterbury Park

Robert Junk has joined Canterbury Park Racetrack and Card Casino as the new Racing Secretary. Junk, a 30-year industry veteran who has been involved in thoroughbred and quarter horse racing at the highest levels, succeeds Doug Schoepf, who retired in October after two decades at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack.

Junk

Junk, 55, currently holds the position of racing secretary at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino in Sunland Park, N.M. Sunland Park annually hosts the Grade III Sunland Derby, a stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby. He also has been racing secretary at Ruidoso Downs and directed the running of the All American Futurity, the richest race in American Quarter Horse racing, 13 times. Early in his career, Junk worked at various positions in racing offices across the Southwest and also as a jockey agent for Canterbury Park Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens.

“Robert’s vast experience in horse racing and his ability to communicate with the stakeholders in the industry, the owners, trainers, jockeys, and employees, will benefit Canterbury Park greatly,” Canterbury Park Vice President of Racing Operations Eric Halstrom said. “Canterbury Park has momentum that will continue with Robert as racing secretary.”

Canterbury’s proposed 69-day race meet will begin May 20. Junk plans to have the 2016 stakes schedule and condition book complete in January. Stall applications will be due March 15.

“I am thrilled to be involved with an organization that is moving forward and that is dedicated to improving its racing product,” Junk said. “I spoke with many horsemen and they all were positive about racing at Canterbury and the direction it is headed. I look forward to the opportunity and the challenge.”