Canterbury Park officials submitted a request to the Minnesota Racing Commission today seeking approval for a 70-day horse racing season in 2015. The proposed race meet would begin May 15 and conclude Sept. 12, making the 2015 season the longest since 1992 when 87 days were conducted. The 2014 season, which concluded Sept. 13, consisted of 68 days. The MRC is expected to consider the request next month.
“Horse racing and breeding in Minnesota is as strong and popular as any period in recent history and I expect the popularity to continue to grow,” Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said. “We have found a schedule that works very well and look forward to running a 70-day meet in 2015, the longest since we reopened the racetrack in 1995.”
Horsemen purses at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack, more than $13 million, were at an all-time high in 2014 and are expected to increase another 5 percent next season due to a cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement reached in 2012 with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community that will supplement those purses by $75 million over 10 years.
“Breeding increased as purses increased which means more horses in Minnesota in the coming years,” Sampson said. “We also saw trainers and owners that had not raced at Canterbury coming here and experiencing success. There will be more new faces in 2015 and with those new faces come more jobs in the industry.”
The success of the cooperative marketing agreement with SMSC led to a broader marketing coalition unveiled earlier this year. Canterbury Park, in a joint public-private collaboration, joined forces with Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Valleyfair, Minnesota Renaissance Festival, SMSC, and the cities of Shakopee and Prior Lake to promote the premier entertainment opportunities that exist in the southwest Twin Cities, naming the collaboration RiverSouth, Land of Big Fun.
“Canterbury Park is an integral part of this community, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area each summer,” Sampson said. “All businesses and residents in the area benefit from the strength and success of the entertainment venues that comprise RiverSouth. This new unity of public and private entities will pay off for everyone.”
Proposed post time on Thursday and Friday will be 6:30 p.m. with weekends and holiday racing beginning at 12:45 p.m. Select Saturdays will have special evening racing.
More information is available at www.canterburypark.com .