Inductees will be honored in July 15 ceremony.
The Canterbury Park Hall of Fame’s newest inductees were announced today. The Class of 2022 includes thoroughbred trainer Michael Biehler, quarter horse husband and wife training team Jason and Amber Olmstead and Cort Holten who represented the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association at the state capitol for more than three decades. These inductees join a group of nearly 50 individuals and horses that comprise the best of Minnesota horse racing.
Mike Biehler – Trainer
Biehler began his career in 1989 as a private trainer working for Curtis Sampson, who later would purchase Canterbury. Biehler has operated a stable at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack each season since, winning the training title in 1992. He is third in all-time wins, starts and purse earnings at Canterbury. Biehler-trainees were named horse of the meet three times: Bold Sharokee in 1992, Samdanya in 1998 and Lt. Sampson in 2005. He also trained Canterbury Hall of Fame Horse Wally’s Choice, one of only four Minnesota breds to win a Graded Stake when he captured the Grade III Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park in 2004.
Jason & Amber Olmstead – Trainers
Amber (Blair) and Jason Olmstead have been involved in Canterbury racing since 2005. Amber’s first quarter horse win came June 24 of that year with Jason as the jockey. Following Jason’s retirement from riding he became the couple’s trainer of record in 2014. Jason and Amber operate as a team with stables at multiple tracks. Jason has been leading quarter horse trainer seven consecutive seasons beginning in 2015. Jason trained the quarter horse of the meet five times. He is second in all-time quarter horse earnings and wins at Canterbury.
Combined, the Olmsteads have won the track’s premier quarter horse race, the Northlands Futurity, five times. Amber is seventh in all-time earnings and wins. Jason received national acclaim when named AQHA Champion Trainer for 2021.
Cort Holten – Outstanding Contributor
Holten, who died earlier this year, was instrumental in the drafting of pari-mutuel legislation and rules throughout the 1980s. His efforts also brought simulcast racing to Canterbury in 1991. In 1999, he drafted legislation that allowed the racetrack to have up to 50 card tables so long as 50 or more days of live racing were conducted. This legislation revitalized the racetrack, providing a needed revenue stream and a secure purse fund.
Although unsuccessful in obtaining approval at the legislature, Holten’s work on racino legislation raised the visibility and highlighted the importance of the horse racing industry to Minnesota’s agricultural economy and served as a catalyst for what would become the 10-year pact with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
In 2019, he was instrumental in passing “Lights On” legislation that allows the racing to continue within the state should there be another government shutdown similar to 2011.
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, media, and Canterbury Park. The new members will be recognized during the races on Hall of Fame Night this Saturday and inducted at a July 15 ceremony.