Racetrack Officials Working with Horsemen to Analyze Options for 2020 Season
Canterbury Park officials have announced a decision to postpone the opening of the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack’s horse stabling area until at least Friday, May 1, in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. This delay in opening also includes access to the main racetrack and other equine training facilities as well as dormitories for racing personnel. Canterbury’s stable area can accommodate up to 1,550 horses and was originally scheduled to open April 24.
“We are doing our best to establish strong communication channels and create some certainty for horsemen in what are very uncertain times,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “We hope May 1 is possible but this situation is changing daily.”
Canterbury officials are in communication with racing officials in other jurisdictions as they establish the appropriate and necessary procedures needed when the horse population begins to arrive. Many racing jurisdictions, including racetracks in Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma have remained open for training and have continued to conduct racing with strict conditions including the prohibition of spectators on the premises.
Canterbury Park is scheduled to race 65 days from May 15 through Sept. 12. “While we are hoping to keep our original racing schedule, we acknowledge that is becoming increasingly unlikely,” Offerman said. “We will continue to have dialogue with our horsemen and consult with the Minnesota Racing Commission. Over the next two weeks we must determine what is in the best interests of our horsemen, horses and employees wishing to race and work at Canterbury Park this summer.”
Canterbury Park historically attracts trainers and horses from other tracks throughout the country including Florida, Illinois, Arkansas, Texas, Nebraska, and Arizona, several of which have concluded or will soon conclude their racing seasons.
On Monday, company officials, based on the advice of state and regulatory bodies, temporarily suspended all casino, simulcast, and special events operations in response to concerns about COVID-19. Company officials deemed this voluntary suspension of activities was in the best interest of the health and safety of its guests and team members and would provide an opportunity to review and update operational best practices and strategies based on what is currently known about this public health situation.
Stall applications will now be due April 3. Nomination payments to stakes races will remain on the originally announced dates.