53-day meet concludes with 13 races beginning at 4 p.m. CT
The 2023 live horse racing season at Canterbury Park ends this Saturday with a 13-race program beginning at 4:00 p.m. CT. The 53rd day of racing marks the conclusion of the 29th consecutive season since the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack reopened for live horse racing as Canterbury Park in 1995. The racetrack previously operated as Canterbury Downs from 1985 through 1992.
Average field size for the 13 races that include five turf races and eight on the main track is 10.23, a significant increase compared to the season per race average of 6.52 horses per race. The five turf races, races 1,2,4,6 and 7, allow for a special All-Turf Pick 5 wager with a 50-cent base and an industry low 10 percent takeout. There will be three additional Pick 5s with that takeout rate on consecutive races beginning in races 3, 6 and 9. The card also begins with a Pick 4 carryover of $32,160. That Pick 4 will offer a 10 percent takeout, also an industry low.
A pair of $50,000 stakes will be run as the eighth and ninth races, the Tom Metzen H.B.P.A Sprint and the Shakopee Juvenile, both at six furlongs on the main track. Doctor Oscar, winner of the Crocrock Sprint on Sept. 9, will be favored in the Metzen. The Minnesota bred 4-year-old owned by Pete Mattson has won nine of 19 career starts and has recorded Beyer Speed Figures, one accepted measure of a horse’s ability, much higher than the six others he will face Saturday. Doctor Oscar, ridden by Alonso Quinonez, is trained by Tim Padilla who also will saddle Thealligatorhunter, a 5-year-old multiple stakes winner he co-owns with Mattson.
Trainer Mac Robertson has two in the Metzen Sprint, both with early speed, that could offer a challenge to Doctor Oscar. Plane Talk has primarily
sprinted on the turf while Sir Wellington has been campaigned this summer on the east coast. Harry Hernandez will ride Sir Wellington. Hernandez is leading the meet in thoroughbred wins with 50, six more than Eduardo Gallardo who rides Plane Talk. Both jockeys have mounts in all 13 races.
Robertson won the Shakopee Juvenile in consecutive renditions from 2017 to 2021. Last year’s winner Two Phil’s, trained by Larry Rivelli, went on to finish second in the Kentucky Derby. This year Robertson has a pair of 2-year-olds in the Shakopee Juvenile. Both won their only starts with Gallardo in the irons. The colt Bourbon Aficionado will be ridden by Hernandez while Gallardo remains aboard the filly Xtreme Smoke Show, the 2 to 1 morning line favorite.
Mattson and Padilla will have a presence in the Shakopee Juvenile as well with General Battle Axe, owned by Mattson and Outofthedark, co-owned by the duo. Both 2-year-olds ran last Saturday in the $100,000 Northern Lights Futurity finishing second and fifth respectively.
Joel Berndt will be the leading thoroughbred trainer for the season. He has 52 wins and a 23-win lead over Robertson. Berndt has nine entered on Saturday, six for the meet’s leading owner Bob
Lothenbach who has 48 wins and purse earnings of $1,223,352. Berndt won the training title in 2020 and tied with Robertson for most wins last season. Lothenbach has been leading owner each season since 2020 and also won the title in 2002.
Canterbury Park remains open year-round with simulcast race wagering daily and a 24/7 casino offering table games and poker. A robust entertainment schedule is planned for the coming months with several vendor shows, snocross racing and extreme horse skijoring.