Canterbury Park’s live horse racing season begins Friday, May 15. The 70-day race meet is longest since 1992. Racing officials estimate that approximately $14 million in purses will be paid to horsemen, a record for the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack. Weeknight racing begins at 6:30 p.m. Racing on weekends and holidays will begin at 12:45 p.m. with a few exceptions. On the first four Saturdays in August, racing begins at 6:30 pm. Canterbury’s richest race, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, will be run Saturday, Aug. 29 with a 4:00 p.m. first post. The popular July 3 Fireworks Spectacular will be featured following that day’s races which begin at 4:00 p.m. The live meet runs through Sept. 12.
For the third consecutive season, Canterbury Park’s nearly 1,600 horse stalls will be at capacity. Several new trainers, owners and jockeys have arrived in search of their share of the lucrative and increasing purse structure. A cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement reached in 2012 with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC), which owns and operates Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, is contributing $75 million to the horsemen’s purses over the deal’s 10-year span. This season’s record-level purses will increase by nearly 7 percent over 2014.
“We have another exciting season planned with an improved quality of horse racing and many promotions that will have wide appeal,” Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said. “From Beerfest, to wiener dog races, to Indian Horse Relay there is something for thrill seekers of all ages. Plus our racing continues to draw higher levels of wagering from around the country.”
The cooperative agreement with SMSC has provided purse stability and certainty into the near future, an advantage that other racetracks do not enjoy.
“I can say with confidence that this race meet will provide the highest quality we have seen since we re-opened in 1995,” Sampson said. “Horsemen that choose to race here know that we have a solid purse structure moving forward and that Canterbury Park can be their place to race each summer.”
The suburban Minneapolis racetrack originally opened in 1985 as Canterbury Downs but closed shortly after the 1992 season concluded. Sampson, his father Curtis, and businessman Dale Schenian purchased the track and surrounding property in 1994 and re-opened for simulcast racing in May of that year. With a new name, Canterbury Park, and a business plan that included year-round simulcasting, special events, and the notion of land development in the future, live horse racing returned to the state in the summer of 1995. This year marks the 21st live racing season under the current ownership.
Fridays during the meet feature Minnesota’s Biggest Happy Hour with live music on the Mystic Lake Music Stage and drink specials. Sundays are Pepsi Family Day with free pony rides, face painting, and a petting zoo. The popular ‘Buck Night’ promotion returns again in 2015 when Thursday night racing begins June 4. Specials include $1 general admission and other $1, $2 and $3 beverage and food offers.
General admission to Canterbury Park is $6, with an additional charge for indoor, reserved seating. There are 10 designated Premium Days when general admission is $8. Children 17 and under are admitted free. General parking is free. For additional information, call the Canterbury Box Office at (952) 445-7224 or visit www.canterburypark.com .
Live Race Dates: May 15 through Sept. 12
Racing Days and Times
Thursdays beginning June 4 – 6:30 p.m.
Fridays – 6:30 p.m.
Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays – 12:45 p.m.
Saturdays in August – 6:30 p.m. except August 29 which begins at 4:00 p.m.
July 3 – Special 4:00 p.m. post time
Friday, May 15 – Opening Night
Monday, May 25* – Memorial Day racing at 12:45 p.m. featuring the Running of the Bulldogs
Saturday, June 6* – Belmont Stakes Block Party with live music from Boogie Wonderland.
Sunday, June 21* – Father’s Day BBQ Sauce Giveaway
Friday, July 3* – 4:00 p.m. racing. Fireworks Spectacular and live music presented by Kwik Trip after the races
Saturday, July 4* – Independence Day with free Hormel hot dogs
Saturday, July 11* – Mystic Lake Mile Day with craft beer glass giveaway
Saturday, July 18* – Extreme Race Day with camel, ostrich, and zebra races
Saturday, August 29*-Mystic Lake Derby Day with Indian Horse Relay, Indian Market, and $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby
Sunday, September 6* – Minnesota Festival of Champions
Monday, Sept. 7* – Labor Day Wiener Dog Wars
*indicates Premium Day
New This Season At Canterbury Park
· Kwik Trip Family of the Day: Text Race to 75309 to qualify. Winners receive a VIP experience in Canterbury’s clubhouse with a table overlooking the finish line, complimentary brunch, and the chance to watch announcer Paul Allen call a race.
· Triple Crown Buffet open each live racing day.
· Balcony Suites available for group parties.
· Pub Grub featuring bar food favorites, adjacent to Chalk Pub, a craft beer bar.
· Zombie Night – Friday, July 24 The Night Comes Alive! Best of the Dead Contest presented by Zombie Pub Crawl.