Canterbury Park, Shakopee, Minn logo

Fast Times at Canterbury Park

by Noah Joseph

It’s certainly been a warm couple of weeks in Minnesota. While the temperatures may be hot, the racing has been even hotter. We’ve seen favorites win and we’ve seen longshots pay huge amounts. In addition, we’ve also seen some very fast times. On June 6th, Chess Master blazed through a distance of 5 furlongs on the grass with a time of 54.83 seconds. Last Sunday, Defend the Rose was clocked in 1:27.65 for 7 1/2 furlongs on the lawn. Those are some fast times! Lets take a look at some of the more notable track records in Canterbury history.

Some of the most well-known and iconic track records occurred back in the Canterbury Downs days, which lasted from 1985 to 1992. Come Summer set a track record on August 14th, 1985, for a race at a distance of one mile and seventy yards on the dirt in 1:40.20, a record that still stands for the distance. Come Summer used that race as a springboard en route to winning the Canterbury Derby and earning a spot in the Canterbury Hall of Fame. Another Canterbury Hall of Fame member, John Bullit has two track records that still stand. On July 25th, 1986, the Bullit set a track record for a mile and a quarter on the dirt in 2:04.60. The following year, on September 26th, 1987, he set a track record for one mile and 7/8ths on the grass in the Canterbury Downs Starter Handicap, which he won in 3:11.40.

Don’s Irish Melody

However, the most well-known track record in Canterbury history occurred in the 1988 Chaucer Cup in which Don’s Irish Melody nosed out Who Doctor Who in the six and a half furlong contest, finishing with a time of 1:14.00, which at the time, was 1/5 of a second of the world record for the distance. That Canterbury track record still stands today.

In the Canterbury Park era, which is 1995 to the current day, there are many track records that stick out, particularly in stakes races. Canterbury legend and fan favorite Wally’s Choice set a

Wally’s Choice

track record for a mile and a sixteenth on the dirt in winning the 2004 Minnesota Classic Championship on Festival of Champions Day in a time of 1:41.74. And just last year, a rare feat in racing occurred as two track records were broken on the same day. Tut’s Revenge won the Mystic Lake Mile and set a track record for one mile on the grass in a final time of 1:33.17. Just over two hours later, Wellabled shipped in from Chicago to go gate to wire in the Honor the Hero Stakes. He covered the five furlongs on the grass in 54.77 seconds. Both races were a part of the Mystic Lake Northern Stars Turf Festival.

This year’s edition of the Mystic Lake Northern Stars Turf Festival will be next Wednesday June 23rd. First post is at 5PM.

The heat is on this season. Come on out and join us, cause you’ll never know what you’re going to see. And missing out will definitely burn you.