Johnnie Jamison has been hired as track superintendent, Canterbury Park racing officials announced today.
Jamison, currently track superintendent at Sunland Park in New Mexico, brings more than 40 years of experience to the Shakopee, Minn., racetrack. He has held similar roles at multiple racetracks in Texas, New Mexico, and Indiana and served as track superintendent for Palm Meadows and general superintendent for The Stronach Group’s track surfaces in Florida. Jamison also designed, sourced, and oversaw the installation of a new racing surface at Indiana Grand in 2013. In addition to his extensive experience in track maintenance, Jamison has worked in other facets of the industry including starter and racing office management and was also a racehorse trainer. Canterbury Park’s 2019 mixed-breed race meet is scheduled to begin May 3.
“I am looking forward to joining the Canterbury Park team,” Jamison said. His philosophy of track maintenance incorporates that theme of teamwork. “I talk to trainers and jockeys every day,” Jamison said. “I watch horses work out in the morning and will visits barns later to ask trainers how those horses came back. Consistency is important. Working together and communicating is important.”
Canterbury Park has a one-mile dirt oval and seven-furlong inner turf course. The track will open to horsemen for training in mid-April.
“It’s all about safety. I will not compromise safety,” Jamison said. “I do a lot of testing of the surface, a lot of probing and adjusting. A racetrack is a living, breathing thing. The track yesterday may not be the same track today.”
Canterbury Park is accredited by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety and Integrity Alliance, a standing organization whose purpose is to establish standards and practices to promote safety and integrity in horse racing and to secure their implementation.
“Johnnie’s record of successful track maintenance and safety will be an asset to Canterbury Park’s racing program,” track president Randy Sampson said. “Having worked in so many areas of the sport, he understands horsemen needs and concerns, as he was a trainer once himself, and has the ability to communicate with everyone to the betterment of all, providing a safe and fair surface that will continue to bolster the reputation of horse racing in Minnesota.”
Recently concluded was a significant renovation project on the main track’s racing surface, renovating and resetting the limestone base to the original elevations as constructed in 1985.
Canterbury Park racing officials last week requested of the Minnesota Racing Commission a 66-day racing season that would conclude Sept. 14, 2019. The MRC is expected to take action on that request in December as well as approve numerous annual racing official licensing requests.