Canterbury Park's 2017 Thoroughbred stakes schedule will include 32 races and more than $2 million in purses, it was announced Jan. 10 by racing officials at the Shakopee, Minn. track.
The richest race of the season, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, will be run Aug. 26. Long a fixture on the schedule, the Minnesota Festival of Champions will be held for the 24th time Sunday, Aug. 20. The six Thoroughbred stakes run that day, all reserved for horses bred in the state, will pay $410,000 in purse money.
Opening weekend features a pair of 5 1/2 furlong sprints, the Paul Bunyan and L'Etoile du Nord Stakes, both run Saturday, May 6 with a purse of $50,000 each.
"I am pleased with the well-rounded stakes schedule Canterbury will offer in 2017," company president Randy Sampson said. "It will be very appealing to horsemen and owners across the country and continues our tradition of attracting quality fields that the horse-betting public seeks. We have seen several horses that competed in stakes here in 2016 continue to succeed elsewhere."
Third-place finisher in the 2016 Mystic Lake Derby, Hay Dakota, went on to win the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes at Churchill while the winner of Canterbury's largest purse, One Mean Man, won the $100,00 Jefferson Cup. Lady Canterbury Stakes winner Secret Someone won a $350,000 stake at Kentucky Downs, Shakopee Juvenile winner Even Thunder won a $100,000 stake at Aqueduct, and Line Judge, winner of the Careless Navigator at Canterbury, won the $200,000 Jean Lafitte at Delta Downs.
"When you couple our strong overnight purses with the stakes schedule, Canterbury Park is a great place for trainers to spend the summer months and find racing opportunities for their entire stable," Sampson said.
Owners of Minnesota-breds will find a pair of new state-bred turf stakes on June 10, the Minnesota Turf and Minnesota Turf Distaff. Both races will be run at 7 1/2 furlongs and will offer $50,000 purses.
The first condition book will be available Jan. 20. Stall applications are due March 13 and are available at www.canterburypark.com.
The 67-day live racing season begins May 5 and runs through Sept. 16.
The complete stakes schedule is attached.