McCraken Wins Sam F. Davis but R2K Points Were Found Elsewhere

McCraken remained undefeated by winning Saturday’s Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. The favorite’s impressive run from off the pace to win going away at 3 to 2 odds attracted betting in the Wynn Las Vegas Kentucky Derby futures where the son of Ghostzapper is now the 6 to 1 favorite.

The 12-race Tampa card was featured in Canterbury’s Road to Kentucky Contest. Total available contest points surpassed 2,500. McCraken, in the double point Derby prep, was worth 228 points with high points in that race coming from second-place finisher Tapwrit at 9 to 1 for 268 points.

The top R2K score was earned by Dick Hall who amassed a total of 1,700, more than 60 percent of the total available.  Hall had the winner in the opener for 208, hit Pazzaluna in race 5 for 582, and had Tapa Tapa Tapa in race 8 for another 292. Hall also had Tapwrit and scored points in nine of the 12 eligible races.

This Saturday the Road passes through Golden Gate Fields with the double-point Derby prep race the El Camino Real.  Entry to R2K is always free. Entry deadline is first post at Golden Gate.

Final Week for HPWS Super Satellites

The Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 16-18) Horse Player World Series Super Satellite contest will be the final chance to win a $100 entry to the Feb. 25 HPWS Satellite. Players can buy into that satellite for $100 but can also win an entry through the super satellites for just $10. The Feb. 25 contest will send top players to The Orleans Casino for the annual Horse Player World Series at the end of March. The HPWS is expected to offer more than $800,000 in prize money.  There is a history of Minnesotans performing well in the HPWS. Bart Solomon, now a Vegas resident, won the 2011 HPWS and nearly $300,000.

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It’s Official: 2017 Live Racing Returns Friday, May 5

Canterbury Park

Canterbury Park Receives MRC Approval For 2017 Racing Dates.

67-day meet runs May 5 through Sept. 16.

Canterbury Park’s 2017 live racing season will begin Friday, May 5 and run through Sept. 16. The Minnesota Racing Commission approved the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack’s request for a 67-day thoroughbred and quarter horse meet on Thursday evening.

Racing on Thursdays and Fridays in 2017 will begin at 6:30 p.m. and weekend and holiday racing at 12:45 p.m. On May 5 and July 3, racing will begin at 4:00 p.m.

“We are very pleased with the 2017 racing schedule,” Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said. “We will begin racing earlier than we have for the past eight years, with opening weekend coinciding with the Kentucky Derby. This allows additional opportunities for owners to run their horses and also better accommodates trainers coming from race meets that end earlier in the spring.”

From 2005 to 2008 the Canterbury Park meet also opened on Kentucky Derby weekend and produced some of the largest crowds in track history including 18,230 on 2008 Kentucky Derby day and 17,111 in 2006. The Kentucky Derby will be run May 6, 2017.

With July 4 falling on a Tuesday, Canterbury Park will conduct six consecutive days of racing, June 29 through Independence Day, followed by an eight-day break with racing resuming on July 13. The down time will be used for track and turf maintenance.

“A week-long break in the schedule is unprecedented at Canterbury but it serves the horse population very well and allows our track crew to make sure the racing surfaces remain in top shape for the second half of the meet,” Sampson said.

Canterbury Park racing officials will announce the 2017 stakes schedule and purse structure in January.

Video: The Veterinarians

BowmanVeterinarians employed by the Minnesota Racing Commission serve extremely important roles at the racetrack. Dr. Richard Bowman explains what he and his colleagues do on a regular basis to ensure the safety of all equine and human athletes participating in races at Canterbury Park. Learn more about pre-race exams, the vet’s list, equine drug testing and much more in the latest episode of Canterbury Spotlight:

Video: Michelle Benson

Video: The Stewards

DavidHooper01 (2)In horse racing, the stewards serve as the officials, the referees and/or the umpires. Appointed by the Minnesota Racing Commission, they are the individuals behind all inquiries and objections that could alter the official order of finish in any given race should it be determined that a foul occurred. Additionally, the stewards are responsible for enforcing a wide variety of rules on the grounds of the racetrack and during the running of the race. Learn more about the stewards from David Hooper, current Canterbury Park Steward, in the latest installment of Canterbury Spotlight:

Video: Michelle Benson

Racing Free Visits Canterbury

RacingFreeThere was a visit to the racing office to start things off and then a trip to the Minnesota Racing Commission and after that a visit with horsemen throughout the grandstand and beyond.

Danielle Bryan, director of marketing for Racing Free, was pitching the benefits of her program to anyone who would lend an ear on Thursday, selling an additional incentive program for drug free racing to horsemen competing at Canterbury Park.

Generally, the program has made inroads with the quarter horse industry and is expanding into the thoroughbred ranks too.

Bryan,24, is an animal science major from Purdue University and Indiana native with a longstanding love of horses. With three years of work at the Lazy E Ranch in Guthrie, Okla., Bryan had a background that Micah McKinney and Leslie McKinney, founders of Racing Free, found appealing. The opportunity to work was clearly too good to pass up from Bryan’s viewpoint and she joined Racing Free during its inaugural season in 2012.

The program works on incentives to help promote clean racing and additional safeguards for horses.

Bryan has visited most of the major quarter horse tracks and is now focusing on visiting thoroughbred tracks. She was clearly pleased with the reception she got from Minnesota horsemen and Canterbury Park.

“This is a wonderful racing program here,” she said while winding up her visit to Minnesota Thursday night.

Bryan said she got a cordial reception from most horsemen she spoke with as well as racing office officials and the racing commission.

Basically, her program works like this: owners register their horses with the organization for a $300 fee per horse. At the conclusion of a meet, registered horses are rewarded $1,500 per win if the horse has a clear drug test in each race. A single violation will eliminate the horse from the program for a year.

The program includes a breeder incentive program which allows a breeder “to purchase a voucher membership into the Racing Free Incentive Program. For $300, a breeder may purchase and publicize the voucher for his or her racehorse to be a member at any one participating track in the program.” If the horse is sold, the new owner is allowed to enter the horse into the program at any one participating track. A drug free win is worth $750 to the new owner and the same amount to the breeder.

Trainers, owners and jockeys with the most racing free horse wins are awarded bonuses at the end of the meet as well.

Bryan encourages anyone interested in the program to visit the organization’s website at

The organization states its program is “designed to reward industry participants that stand against performance-enhancing drugs and desire a level playing field in racing. As the program expands, the Racing Free team will be working with tracks to determine how to improve testing methods.”


Gedda Quinonez was at Canterbury Park for the races Thursday night, enjoying a trip home for a wedding this weekend.

She is the wife of Luis Quinonez, a Canterbury Hall of Fame rider who won five consecutive titles in Shakopee.

Quinonez is recuperating from broken vertebrae in his neck, the result of a morning accident at Churchill Downs the week before the Kentucky Derby. It was to have been Quinonez’ first meet in Louisville.

Instead, he is recuperating at home in Jones, Okla. “He would have loved to have been here,” Gedda said.

Doctors told him he would need three months to heal but he was “pretty much healed in six weeks,” Gedda said. “He just had a good meet at Oaklawn and was really looking forward to riding in Kentucky.”

Quinonez had surgery to repair an injured knee during his rehab. He and Gedda have four children: Nate, 27; Lexie, 18; Ryan, 16 and Alayna, 14.

Lexie will be a freshman at the University of Oklahoma. She intends to study biochemistry.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Minnesota Racing on the Rise

2012 MTA Yearling SaleIn a sign of the rapidly improving health of the Minnesota breeding and racing industry, the MTA announced this past week that the number of registered broodmares jumped 77% from 2012 to 2013 according to numbers compiled by the Minnesota Racing Commission. All broodmares that will be foaling in Minnesota are required to be registered by March 15 of the year they will foal.

“These numbers are tremendous,” said MTA President Jay Dailey. “The cooperative marketing agreement between the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Canterbury Park is really paying dividends throughout the Thoroughbred industry in Minnesota. This increase is a direct result of breeders recognizing that there is money to be made here. I know our membership has been very active in purchasing in-foal broodmares as well as broodmare prospects in anticipation of the excellent purses for future foals to be running for at Canterbury Park. I anticipate these numbers will continue to rise over the next few years as well.”

“The effect that the agreement between the SMSC and the racetrack can simply not be overstated,” Dailey said. “With trainers and owners clamoring for the available space, several six figure stakes and the foal crops on the rise, Minnesota is moving to become a significant player in the racing industry once again.”

Live Racing Stall Applications Set Record

The deadline for stall applications for Canterbury Park’s 2013 live racing season came and went this past Monday and more than 2,400 horses have applied for approximately 1,500 stalls. Management also announced this past week that Canterbury’s backside will open on April 15, a week earlier than originally planned, due to the increase in demand for stalls.

Road to Kentucky Heads to Turfway Park

Canterbury’s free-to-enter $30,000 Road to Kentucky handicapping contest continues Saturday at Turfway Park with the Spiral Stakes serving as the bonus race. First post is 12:10 p.m.

Last week, Ron White took down the top prize – the second time he has won a week this spring following a victory on the very first week of the 2013 Road to Kentucky. He currently stands in third place overall behind Jessica Rau and Ray Hassan.

Here’s a quick look at the Spiral Stakes:

Uncaptured is the slight 3-1 morning line favorite having notched six victories from seven starts including four on Woodbine’s synthetic surface – similar to the surface he’ll face on Saturday. He has two graded stakes victories and, if he makes a predictable jump forward in his 3-year-old bow, should be in the mix. Balance the Books is a stone cold closer often coming from the back of the pack. He may be up against it as there doesn’t appear to be a gluttony of speed signed on for this one. That lack of pace could make Mac the Man – a perfect 3 for 3 over the Turfway Surface – a threat on the front end. Maker, Mott, Lukas and Pletcher will also be represented when a full field of 12 heads to the gate. The prediction here is for some large exotic payoffs as this race is wide open.