Canterbury Park’s live horse racing season came to a conclusion Thursday night, producing record wagering figures while returning $15,558,701 in purses, the most ever in a single meet, to horse owners, jockeys and trainers, fueling an industry that supports thousands of jobs across the state. Wagering was robust during the 65-day season, 12 race days more than the pandemic-shortened 2020 meet, with a record total handle of $90,888,787, spurred by an average daily out-of-state handle of $1,267,985, a 3.9 percent rise over last year and a 178.9 percent increase over 2019. The 2021 total surpassed the previous Canterbury Park record of $68.4 million set last year.
With no COVID-19 restrictions in place this season, spectators returned and daily average on-track wagering increasing by 87.1 percent to $130,304, leaving officials at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack thrilled about the season and optimistic for the future.
“It really was an encouraging racing season,” track president Randy Sampson said. “We maintained wagering levels out of state but most importantly we saw racing fans return to Canterbury Park. Business levels increased throughout the summer which allowed us to continue to bring employees back to work and provide the race-day experience that our guests expect.”
Purse money averaged $239,365 daily, with $7.28 of the more than $15 million total contributed by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community through a cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement reached with Canterbury Park in 2012. SMSC owns and operates nearby Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. More than $6.6 million in purses was paid to owners of horses that were foaled in Minnesota.
“With the support of horse trainers and owners, we presented an excellent racing product which continued to attract wagering across the country,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “We are grateful for the owners, trainers, breeders, patrons and team that contributed to this record season and we celebrate the record purse distribution of more than $15 million dollars in 2021 that will allow industry participants to reinvest their earnings into future racing prospects and support vitals components of Minnesota’s agriculture industry.”
Mac Robertson won the thoroughbred training title for the 14th time with 62 wins. Lindey Wade, riding at Canterbury for the first time, was leading thoroughbred jockey with 80 wins, 13 more than last year’s champion Ry Eikleberry. Lothenbach Stables Inc. was leading thoroughbred owner with 32 wins and $886,904 in purse earnings. Jason Olmstead continued his dominance in the quarter horse ranks, easily winning his seventh consecutive training title. Tom Maher was leading owner and Edwin Escobedo was top quarter horse jockey. Cinco Star, trained by Robertson, was named Horse of the Meet. The 6-year-old Minnesota bred, owned by John Mentz of Lakeville, won three times this summer including the Blair’s Cove and Ralph Strangis Stakes.
Thursday’s 13-race card attracted $2,892,591 in wagering. Minister of Soul under jockey Luis Fuentes won the $50,000 Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint Stakes. The 7-year-old is owned and trained by Esteban Martinez.
Robertson capped the season winning the $50,000 Shakopee Juvenile, a race he has now won five consecutive times, with 2-year-old Misyneedsacocktail. The filly was ridden by Luis Negron for owner Jac Mac Stable, LLC.
Canterbury Park’s 2021 Horse of the Year and divisional champions:
• Horse of the Year – Cinco Star (owner: John Mentz : trainer: Mac Robertson)
• Sprinter – Clickbait (owner: Hugh Robertson, John Mentz & Jeff Larson : trainer: Mac Robertson)
• Older Filly or Mare – Ready to Runaway (owner: John Mentz : trainer: Mac Robertson)
• Older Horse – Cinco Star (owner: John Mentz : trainer: Mac Robertson)
• Grass Horse – Cinco Star (owner: John Mentz : trainer: Mac Robertson)
• Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding – Thealligatorhunter (owner: Pete Mattson & Tim Padilla : trainer: Tim Padilla)
• Three-Year-Old Filly – Star of the North (owner: Michael Grossman : trainer: Francisco Bravo)
• Two-Year-Old – Love the Nest (owner: Lothenbach Stables, Inc : trainer: Joel Berndt)
• Claimer – Wild Behavior (owner: Empire Racing Stables : trainer: Robertino Diodoro)
• Quarter Horse – Jess Rocket Man (owner: Lunderborg LLC : trainer: Jason Olmstead)
(info and photo courtesy of Canterbury Park)