Canterbury Park’s request for a 54-day 2024 horse racing season, Saturday, May 18 through Saturday, Sept. 28, was unanimously approved by the Minnesota Racing Commission. Racing will be conducted on Thursdays and Saturdays at 5 p.m. central and Sundays at 1 p.m. Three Wednesdays will be added in July with racing at 4 p.m. July 3 and 5 p.m. July 10 and 24. Also on the calendar are Labor Day Racing, Sept. 2 at 1 p.m. and Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 5 p.m. A PDF calendar is available using this link: https://canterburypark.egnyte.com/dl/9tARdsgqsC .
The 54-day season, which will begin one week earlier and conclude two weeks later than the 2023 season, was agreed upon by track management and the Minnesota HBPA which represents thoroughbred racehorse owners and trainers. Overnight thoroughbred and quarter horse purses will be increased by 10 percent on average with daily purse distribution averaging $197,000.
“Spreading our 54 race days over a longer period of time will allow us to increase field sizes and offer additional racing opportunities for our horse population,” Canterbury Park CEO Randy Sampson said. “Raising overnight purses for both thoroughbreds and quarter horses by an average of 10 percent, along with plans to work with our horsepeople to streamline race conditions, and to use the turf course as much as possible, should also result in larger fields.”
Canterbury’s $15 million stable area and racing infrastructure improvement project continues. A new safety rail was installed on the main track last month. Construction of three new barns, future home to 324 racehorses, is underway and will be complete when the stable area opens May 1. Improvements in 2023 include a reconfiguring of the training track, construction of a 36-room dormitory and complete replacement of main track and paddock area lighting.
“Canterbury will continue to invest in racing infrastructure, making our racing surfaces safe and stable area convenient and efficient for those that work there,” Sampson said.
Details of a revised participation incentive plan that will provide a projected $400,000 in incentives to support recruiting of new and returning stables will be announced soon. The 2024 stakes and overnight handicap schedule along with the first condition book will be available early in the year. Stall applications will be available in March and due in mid-April. Training on the main track begins May 8.
The Minnesota Racing Commission, currently a seven-member panel, is appointed by the state’s governor and tasked with overseeing the integrity and safety of horse racing at Minnesota’s two pari-mutuel racetracks.
(info and photo courtesy of Canterbury Park)