Canterbury Park’s 2021 quarter horse racing season will offer 15 stakes races and increased overnight purses. The Shakopee, Minnesota racetrack’s 65-day mixed-breed meet begins May 18 with the first quarter horse races set for May 31. The Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity, the richest race of the season featuring an additional $20,000-added in purse money in 2021, is scheduled for Aug. 11. Should the estimated purse of $175,000 be reached, it would be the largest in the 34 renditions of the centerpiece 2-year-old race. Also on Aug. 11 will be the $100,000 estimated Canterbury Park Quarter Horse Derby, also featuring an additional $20,000-added in 2021.
In response to what Canterbury racing officials predict will be a very competitive spring and summer in the Midwest, with tracks vying for the same horses, overnight purses for both open races and races restricted to Minnesota-breds in all categories have been increased. For example, maiden purses which were $11,500 in 2019 and were subsequently reduced to $10,000 in 2020 as a result of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic will now be $16,500 in 2021. Allowance races for non-winners of two ran for $14,000 in 2019, $10,500 in 2020, and will be worth $17,500 in 2021. The majority of races will be run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to avoid overlapping race days and opportunities with Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.
“Increasing purses will make racing at Canterbury more attractive to the participants and make quarter horse racing in the Midwest in general a healthier proposition for trainers, owners and breeders,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “We have worked thoroughly this off-season with the Minnesota Quarter Horse Racing Association to come up with the best possible quarter horse racing program for Canterbury Park and to provide the best opportunity for interested parties to find success racing quarter horses at Canterbury Park and in the Midwest.”
July 6 features three Bank of America Regional Challenge Races, the Canterbury Park Distance Challenge, the Canterbury Park Distaff Challenge, newly designated Grade 3 in 2021, and the Grade 3 Canterbury Park Championship Challenge, won in 2020 by Danjer, a multiple Grade 1 winner recently named AQHA Champion Aged Horse and Champion Aged Gelding. Also on that day will be the MQHRA Stallion Auction Futurity with an estimated purse of $75,000.
Minnesota- bred quarter horses will have six stakes beginning with the $35,000-added Bob Morehouse Stakes on May 31 and concluding with the Minnesota Futurity and Minnesota Derby, each worth more than $50,000, on Sept. 8. The $25,000-added North Star State Futurity and North Star State Derby are new opportunities for Minnesota-breds in 2021 intended to bolster opportunities for state-breds.
Initial nomination payments for the Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity and Canterbury Park Derby, as well as the $50,000-added Minnesota Quarter Horse Futurity and $50,000-added Minnesota Quarter Horse Derby are due on March 1.
Stall applications for the 2021 meet, due April 2, along with the first condition book, will be available Feb. 9 at https://www.canterburypark.com/horsemen/ .