Canterbury Park officials have submitted a request to the Minnesota Racing Commission seeking approval for a 67-day horse racing season in 2017. The proposed mixed-breed race meet for Thoroughbreds and American Quarter horses would begin Friday, May 5 and conclude Sept. 16. The MRC is expected to act on Canterbury’s request next month.
For the past eight years, the race meet has begun in mid-May but from 2005 to 2008 the meet opener coincided with Kentucky Derby weekend and produced some of the largest crowds at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack including 18,230 on 2008 Kentucky Derby day and 17,111 in 2006. The Kentucky Derby will be run May 6, 2017.
“We believe that extending the meet over a longer time period and once again starting on Kentucky Derby weekend will prove to be beneficial in recruiting new stables, generating additional business on our live races, and will provide owners of Minnesota-bred horses additional racing opportunities,” company president Randy Sampson said.
Horsemen purses are expected to again exceed $14 million and are bolstered by the 2012 cooperative marketing agreement reached with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community that will supplement those purses by $75 million over 10 years.
“With the continuing purse enhancements from the SMSC agreement we have the ability to move race dates in a way that works well for the fans, the owners, and the trainers, and create a positive impact on surrounding businesses in this community,” Sampson said. “Kentucky Derby day is our largest handle day each year and bringing live racing back in alignment with it will only make for a better racing experience.”
Proposed post time on Thursday and Friday is 6:30 p.m. with weekends and holiday racing beginning at 12:45 p.m. Post time on May 5 and July 3 would be 4:00 p.m.