Canterbury Park officials have submitted to the Minnesota Racing Commission a request for a 66-day schedule in 2019 that would begin May 3, the day prior to the Kentucky Derby, and conclude Sept. 14. Canterbury Park, located in Shakopee, Minn., is Minnesota’s only thoroughbred and quarter horse racetrack. The MRC is expected to act on the request next month.
“We are well into the planning stages for the 2019 racing season, encouraged by the continued advances we have made in racing quality and by the well-received investments we have made in the guest experience at Canterbury Park,” Director of Racing Andrew Offerman said.
In the recently concluded season, 69 days of racing were conducted resulting in record handle, the total dollars wagered throughout the race meet. Purses paid to horsemen also soared to record levels. A 2012 cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement reached with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners and operators of nearby Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, will again supplement purses in 2019. The agreement extends through 2022 with more than $83 million going toward purse supplements and joint marketing of the two properties and the region known as RiverSouth-Land of Big Fun.
“Canterbury Park’s presence in the pari-mutuel market as a quality summer racing product continued to be reflected in handle numbers as 2018 handle was a record $48.1 million, up more than 10 percent from 2017,” Offerman said. “That is more than double the handle number of $24 million posted in 2010, the last full meet prior to our purse enhancement agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. I expect that we will see strong numbers again in the coming year as more horse owners and horse players are drawn to racing at Canterbury Park.”
Purses are anticipated to exceed $14.25 million in 2019, at approximately $215,000 per day, for the third time in track history.
“We recently concluded a significant renovation project on the main track’s racing surface, bringing it to its original 1985 specifications,” Offerman said. “We are also continuing with improvements to the facility, both inside and out, that will prove popular with race fans. A redesign of the Canterbury Casino is underway, making it more inviting to the racing public as it opens into the grandstand bringing with it enhanced and expanded food and beverage options that can be enjoyed by all guests.”
There is a proposed one-week break in the racing season when Canterbury hosts Twin Cities Summer Jam July 18 – 20. The three-day music festival will be held in the track infield. Festival officials announced earlier this year that country music star Tim McGraw will headline July 20.