Spring is finally here and a new live racing season is almost upon us. This meet projects to be one of the best – and most competitive – in Canterbury history. In total, five stakes will be contested each worth at least $100,000. Additionally, a new tote board and other new amenities will great you upon your return. What else can you look forward to?
Fuller Fields – The purse agreement with Mystic Lake has caught the attention of horsemen across the country, and this season is the first where we get to see its full effect. With this new purse money, new stables from all corners have assembled to compete for it. Conditions that used to tote compact fields should increase in size across the board, creating a better betting experience for all.
I’m personally excited to see how the new stables influence betting in conditions that used to contain many familiar faces every two weeks, as what used to be dominant favorites may become at least a more tempting price if not the second or third choices. In theory the snowball effect created will boost payoffs, pools, and overall gambling appeal this season. Horsemen and gamblers benefit from this new deal and this summer should set a new bar for wagering excitement.
Midwest in the Midwest – While you’ve likely heard the name, seen the green silks and probably lost to one of their steeds at one point or another, Midwest Thoroughbreds have made their way to Canterbury Park for this summer. Their presence around the country is dominant and don’t expect the stable to enter like a lamb in Shakopee. Their sheer size and volume of horses fitting all conditions make them viable in many pages of the condition book, including stakes.
While the claiming game is Midwest’s bread & butter, their penchant for moving horses up when claimed cannot be ignored. Do not count out a horse that’s been making his or her way against sellers, as they generally aren’t entered elsewhere without sound reason and can usually find the right spot to catch an allowance win. Cory Jensen, a familiar name around Canterbury, handles the stable for their first foray in Minnesota and knows this track better than most of the new barns attempting to conquer Canterbury.
In 2012, Midwest Thoroughbreds won 542 races throughout the country – nearly 400 more races than any other owner in North America. Their presence at Canterbury this summer is a direct result of the purse agreement with the SMSC and confirms that Canterbury Park is a venue on the rise!
New and Improved Visual Experience – The toteboard has been the most talked about improvement this off-season at Canterbury, and it is one of a few visual upgrades at the Park for the 2013 meet. The bigger video board is the centerpiece of the new board, surrounded by all digital displays for odds, ads and other promotions that will run throughout the racing day. New graphics will also greet the new board from end to end, so make your way out to the apron on your visit to get a good look.
The paddock is also receiving a face lift of sorts with some new features. The pre-race show (also changing a bit for this summer) stage has a new look and there’s a new video display board in the paddock to view the races and display the odds in a digital format should you wish to stay behind the grandstand through the action. As always, televisions are plentiful throughout the facility and are continually being upgraded to enhance live and simulcast racing viewing.
Earlier Weeknight Post Times & More Weeknight Races – Weeknight first post times (Thursdays and Fridays) have been moved up to 6:30pm to accommodate the fact that many of these cards will host 9 or 10 races as opposed to the 8 or 9 race cards that have been held in recent seasons. During the quarter horse portion of the meet, quarter horse races will most often be run first with thoroughbred races completing the card.
Last chance on Labor Day? Not anymore! – Ever looked at the calendar in August and realized that last trip to the track isn’t going to work with your Labor Day plans? We have added six days to the schedule this year, extending the meet’s tenure for two weekends beyond Labor Day. Who doesn’t want more racing?
With new changes throughout the facility and new challengers throughout the barn area, get ready for a great summer at Canterbury Park! We’ll see you out here!
This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann serves as the Track Analyst for Hawthorne Racecourse in Cicero, Illinois and the summer of 2013 will mark her third year in a similar capacity at Canterbury Park.
Video: Michelle Benson
Photo: Coady Photography