Canterbury Park racing officials today announced that Robert Junk will return to the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack as Director of Racing and Racing Secretary, a position he held previously from 2016 through 2018 before leaving for a similar job at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. Because Turf Paradise conducts racing during a timeframe that Canterbury is not running, Junk, with the cooperation of both tracks, will continue in his position at Turf Paradise and rejoin the Canterbury racing office in early May. Canterbury’s 2020 season is expected to run 65 days from May 15 through Sept. 12, after which Junk will return to Phoenix.
“It was a difficult decision to leave Canterbury Park in 2018 but the opportunity in Phoenix, which is home for me, required a year-round commitment at that time,” Junk said. “I’m fortunate that Canterbury and Turf Paradise could make this happen so that I can work for both. I am very familiar with the horsemen and the racing staff at Canterbury. I am thrilled to rejoin them and the excitement that live racing offers in Shakopee.”
Junk, 58, has been racing secretary at racetracks in New Mexico including Sunland Park and Ruidoso Downs where he directed the running of the All American Futurity, the richest race in American Quarter Horse racing, 13 times. Junk worked at various positions in racing offices across the Southwest in the early stages of his career and also was jockey agent for Canterbury Park Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens.
“Rob was well-liked and did a good job during his first tenure at Canterbury Park so having him back in the racing secretary’s office is a great fit,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “We saw many positive developments in our racing program under Rob and expect the same with his return.”
Junk’s hire, as with all key racing officials, must be approved by the Minnesota Racing Commission. The approval along with that of the 2020 live racing dates is expected at the Dec. 19 MRC meeting. The 2020 stakes schedule and condition book will be complete in January with stall applications due in March.