Meet would run May 18 through Sept. 28; Overnight purses to increase 10 percent
Canterbury Park is planning for a 54-day live race meet in 2024. Track officials have submitted a request to the Minnesota Racing Commission for a thoroughbred and quarter horse season that would run from Saturday, May 18 through Saturday, Sept. 28. The 2024 racing calendar offers the same number of race days as 2023, however the meet would begin one week earlier and conclude two weeks later than this past season. Overnight purses will be increased by 10 percent on average. Racing would be conducted primarily on Thursdays and Saturdays at 5 p.m. central and Sundays at 1 p.m. Racing on Wednesday, July 3 would begin at 4 p.m. Three additional Wednesdays, July 10 and 24 and Sept. 25 would have a 5 p.m. post time. A five-day break is also proposed from July 17 to July 21 to allow for time off for both the horses and horsepeople.
“We have listened to requests of the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association which represents racehorse owners and trainers, resulting in a longer season and higher
overnight purses,” Canterbury Park CEO Randy Sampson said. “The extension of the season will allow for more racing opportunities. The scheduled one-week break in the middle of the race meet proved useful in past years as it allowed additional rest for the horses and resulted in larger fields for the weeks following.”
In addition to the purse increases, a larger and revised shipping incentive plan that will provide a projected $400,000 in incentives to support recruiting of new and returning stables will be announced soon. “This significant investment in shipping incentives will help alleviate some of the pain of increased travel expenses,” Sampson said. “The incentive plan also will encourage trainers and owners that have not raced at Canterbury in the past to take a look at what we have to offer.”
The first condition book and stakes and overnight handicap schedule will be released early in the new year. Stall applications will be available in March and due in mid-April. The stable area is expected to be open for arrivals in early May.
Last month, track officials announced that a $15 million stable area and racing infrastructure improvement project was continuing with construction of three new barns that will be home to more than 300 horses. Also underway is the installation of a new safety rail on the main track. The redevelopment project began last year with construction of a 36-unit dormitory, a complete replacement of the main track lighting system and reconfiguration of the training track.
“We have made improvements and additions to the racing infrastructure that have been very well received,” Sampson said. “Canterbury Park’s commitment to live racing in Minnesota remains as strong as ever as we continue to invest in its future.”
The Minnesota Racing Commission is expected to consider Canterbury’s race date request at its December meeting. The commission, currently a seven-member panel, is appointed by the state’s governor and tasked with overseeing the integrity and safety of horse racing at Minnesota’s two pari-mutuel racetracks. Minnesota Administrative Rule 7872.0100 requires Canterbury Park to submit its request for 2024 racing dates no later than November 15.
Canterbury Park’s 24/7 casino and simulcast racebook remain open daily.