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The Important Origin of The Festival

Wednesday is the 28th Minnesota Festival of Champions, a night we celebrate the best of the statebred racehorses. Hall of Fame newspaper reporter Jim Wells died in 2019, but his stories remain for us to enjoy. Here is a recounting written by Jim many years ago, detailing the 1992 origins of the Festival. by Jim […]

Jim Wells 1946-2019

Our friend and our storyteller Jim Wells passed away Sunday. His contributions to this blog were memorable and numerous and now irreplaceable. He made CanterburyLive during the summer racing season a must read. Jim’s horse racing coverage for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, beginning in the Downs’ days of the mid 80s through the early […]

Chief Cicatriz at Del Mar for Grade 1 Bing Crosby on Saturday

Chief Cicatriz pretty much dictated his own terms in the Dark Star Cup at Canterbury Park in June, but the competition is at another level in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Just the same, trainer Shawn Davis figures with good reason that his horse belongs in this lineup and […]

Nolan Cheers On Vikes In Opener

BY JIM WELLS Sunday arrived with an immediate question _  which jersey for the  Minnesota Vikings season opener: Brad Johnson, Jared Allen or Adrian Peterson ? As it turned out, No. 14, the Johnson pullover, seemed right. The choice of ball cap was simple, ….plain, with the Vikings logo on the front. Paul Nolan, former […]

Belmont’s Size Makes It A Rider’s Race

BY JIM WELLS It is one-of-a-kind, the only racetrack in the United States with such vast dimensions, awe-inspiring if not intimidating to anyone who has not dealt with its sweeping turns and long straightaways. Its forbidding size can swallow a horse and rider whole if he’s not prepared, doesn’t calculate its differences and transfer them […]

Canterbury Fans Get Their Own Show

BY JIM WELLS There was a race on the undercard of the Preakness Stakes Saturday that featured an astounding runner named Mitole, the swiftest 3-year-old sprinter in the country, a colt with a dazzling turn of speed. Mitole put on a show for anyone watching, leaving an entire field of horses in his wake after […]


Canterbury Park is counting down to the Kentucky Derby with a $25,000 handicapping contest.

BY JIM WELLS In the latest Preakness Stakes poll conducted by Canterbury Park/CNN/Fox News/ABC/MSNBC  Always Dreaming has a slight edge over Classic Empire and is the projected winner of  Saturday’s race. There is a margin of error in this poll that will not be announced until shortly before post time, so as not to alter […]


Canterbury Park

BY JIM WELLS A native son won the first race of the season Friday under sunny skies, a warm inviting breeze and before a late arriving crowd that grew slowly but only slightly as the afternoon progressed. Alex Canchari, who grew up in Shakopee, a short gallop from Canterbury Park, had a winning hand in […]


Canterbury Park horses

By Jim Wells At long last, the racing season is upon us, two weeks earlier than usual, two and half hours earlier than ordinary, and yet surely not early enough for anyone who has spent the last few months huddled indoors, handicapping races via simulcast from tracks hither and yon. Opening day’s 4 p.m. start […]