Canterbury Park, Shakopee, Minn logo

News and Notes June 1, 2008


Buck night is back and that means the fans of the future are, too.At least that’s what management anticipates as Thursday night racing resumes this week.

Thursday racing and $1 bargains have been one of Canterbury’s most successful promotions, producing crowds averaging nearly 6,000.

Without doubt, the $1 admission, nacho dishes, Pepsi, hot dogs and halfprice beer have had much to do with those enthusiastic turnouts.

Management will add another incentive this year.

One dollar Daily Racing Forms, an enticement to get the young crowds to take the next step in the game of horse racing.”Obviously, the goal is to get people more comfortable moving on to the next level,” said Eric Halstrom, vice president of racing operations.

The primary goal of Thursday night’s promotions is to draw new fans to the game and provide a base for the future, but Halstrom said he hopes to see some short-time results as well.
Buck night draws the crowds, but they have been reluctant bettors, producing a per capita bet of $30, about half the average.

“We need to figure out how to get them betting,” Halstrom said.

So, the track put together an agreement with the Daily Racing Form to produce smaller versions of its product providing information on Canterbury Park and perhaps another track or two at the reduced price, available on-track only.

Halstrom said it is management’s hope that increased knowledge about horse racing will translate into increased participation.

Thursday night is also Canterbury’s biggest group night of the week, with all areas available booked well into the summer.

The young crowds are still learning the game and reluctant to bet as a result, but Thursday nights have been profitable to Canterbury in other areas.

It produces the track’s best-out-of-state betting on Canterbury horses.

There isn’t as much competition for the simulcast dollar at other tracks in the nation on Thursday evenings, so Canterbury’s share has been solid.


Trainer Jamie Ness is still red-hot when it comes to putting a horse in the winner’s circle right off a claim, as he demonstrated once more in Sunday’s third race.

Ness saddled a filly named A Slick Chic, and there was not much to suggest that she was capable of not only winning but of leaving five rivals collecting her dust.

Ah…13 ½ lengths?

Ness claimed the filly in Tampa on May 3. She had just finished her third race in 10 days when she arrived in his barn. Throw in the fact that she was 2-for-43 lifetime and winning certainly wasn’t anything with which she was all that familiar.

Ness figured that this daughter of Include by Broad Brush needed a vacation. “She was worn out,” he said.

So, he did nothing but walk her for three weeks.

Maybe the secret in this case is that horses born to run recall how much they enjoy it after being put on the shelf for awhile. Like so many of us, they respond more favorably after being denied.
In any event, A Slick Chic was very ready for Sunday’s 5 ½ furlong dash and blew the doors off the competition, finishing in 1:05 and 1/5th.

AN ASIDE: Ness was in some pretty fine company on Saturday, tied nationally with Richard Dutrow in wins with 77 for the season. Ness had saddled 223 runners to that point; Dutrow had sent out 324. There was a slight difference in money won, however. Dutrow, with a horse named Big Brown leading the charge, had piled up earnings of $7,445,264 this season to Ness’s $1,260,183.

Ness is right around 42 percent at winning with a horse first time out after a claim, and A Slick Chic did her part. She might even be better than she demonstrated on Sunday, to hear winning rider Paul Nolan tell it.

“Her rear-end was bouncing all over out there. She wasn’t getting underneath herself,” he said.

Whoa…and once she does?

Stay tuned.