Canterbury Announces 2008 Dates
Photo: Canterbury Park

Canterbury Park received approval from the Minnesota Racing Commission Dec. 20 to conduct a 67-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet May 3-Sept. 1 next year.

The meet is highlighted by the return of the Claiming Crown Aug. 2. The Claiming Crown, a series of seven races that are restricted to horses that have raced for various claiming prices, was held at Ellis Park in 2006 after four consecutive years in Minnesota. The 2007 edition will have purses totaling $600,000.

Minnesota Festival of Champions day also is a highlight of the meet. That will fall on Aug. 17.

“The increases we saw in attendance during the 2007 season have us very excited about the potential of the coming meet,” Canterbury Park president Randy Sampson said in a statement. “With competitive racing, daily promotions, including Thursday’s Buck Night and the return of Claiming Crown, our schedule has something to offer to our entire fan base.”

Weekend and holiday racing will begin at 1:30 pm CDT. Thursday and Friday post times will be 7 pm. A special post time of 4 p.m. has been set for July 3 to accommodate the annual "Fireworks Spectacular" presented by Kwik Trip.

The May 3 opening day coincides with Kentucky Derby day for the fourth consecutive season. That union has produced the three largest single-day attendance figures since the suburban Minneapolis racetrack reopened as Canterbury Park in 1995.

The purse structure for the meet is expected to remain similar to the 2007 season, during which an average of $150,000 was paid to horsemen daily.

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