Canterbury Park, Shakopee, Minn logo

Through These Gates Have Passed The Greats

Florent Geroux rides Nun the Less to victory in the 2015 Mystic Lake Derby.

By Noah Joseph

Last week’s Kentucky Derby drew some of the most famous names in horse racing to Churchill Downs, and over the years, some of those names have made their presence felt at Canterbury, as well. Whether it’s been for one day, or the entire meet, many racing greats have made an appearance at the Shakopee track.

In the Kentucky Derby last week, out of the 15 different trainers, five of them have appeared at Canterbury in the past. Joe Sharp, Mark Casse, Steve Asmussen, Mike Maker, and Ian Wilkes have run at least one horse here in the last five years. Three owners have had horses run here at least once since the track first opened, and four of the jockeys in the race had ridden here. Corey Lanerie came to Canterbury and won two stakes in 2015. Julien Leparoux made several appearances when Canterbury had the Claiming Crown. Florent Geroux has appeared a few times this decade and won the 2015 Mystic Lake Derby. Mike Smith rode here from 1985 to 1988 before embarking on a hall of fame career that led to mounts on horses like Zenyatta and Arrogate.

Many other famous names have appeared at Canterbury. Trainers include D. Wayne Lukas, Bill Mott, Bobby Frankel, Neil Drysdale, Ron McAnally, Carl Nafzger and Jack Van Berg. Owners have included Calumet Farm, Allen Paulson, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Winstar Farm, and many more. A list of jockeys includes Gary Stevens, Jerry Bailey, Chris McCarron, Robby Albarado, Craig Perret, Pat Valenzuela, Julie Krone, Laffit Pincay Jr., and Bill Shoemaker.


Noah Joseph is a longtime Canterbury Park and horse racing fan. He’s been attending races at Canterbury since 2000 when he was 3 years old and has enjoyed every minute of it. Noah provides a weekly piece on