By Noah Joseph
It is that time of year again. It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for since September of last year. It’s opening day at Canterbury Park!
After a long, cold winter filled with snow (which overstayed its welcome), it has all given way to a warm spring at Canterbury Park. The Shakopee track kicks off another season of live racing, its 32nd, and 24th year since reopening in 1995.
If you’ve never been to Canterbury, you are in for a treat. Quality racing, combined with its family friendly entertainment, not only make it one of the state’s best attractions, but also one of the best tracks in the country.
From the hardcore bettor, to the casual fan, to the first time visitor, to the young and the old, Canterbury has something for everyone to enjoy. This year, Canterbury has a meet for the ages planned, full of exciting activities and events. Yes, the popular fixtures of the season, like wiener dog and bulldog races, Extreme Day, and the Indian Horse Relays, will continue, but brand-new events are coming, too.
Release the hounds! This year, basset hound races will be run for the first time in the history of the track. Fans can unleash their inner artist with Paintings and Ponies day, in which fans can take a course and paint what they see at Canterbury.
In August, Canterbury will race on Wednesdays, something the track hasn’t done regularly since it was Canterbury Downs in the ’80s and early ’90s.
And for fans of horse racing, not just at Canterbury but around the country, Canterbury will have the first ever Mystic Lake Northern Stars Racing Festival. This racing extravaganza features five stakes races worth $500,000 in prize money, and will feature some of the best owners, trainers, and jockeys in the country, right here in Minnesota. It also coincides with the Jockeys & Jeans fundraiser, an annual traveling event benefitting the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund.
So, once again, it is that time. It is time to return to the track for great racing and fun at Canterbury Park, because that is our rite of spring.