Canterbury Park to Race 62 Days in 2010

Canterbury Park in Minnesota will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2010.

Canterbury Park received approval from the Minnesota Racing Commission Nov. 19 to conduct a 62-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet in 2010. The season will mark the 25th anniversary of the racetrack that opened as Canterbury Downs in 1985.

The 2009 season at Canterbury was successful in terms of public interest in the facility. Attendance averaged 5,481 per day, a record since Canterbury reopened in 1995 under ownership of the Sampson family and partners. Thursday and Friday evening programs have been popular with a younger crowd.

The meet, which will mirror the 2009 season, will begin May 14 and run through Aug. 29 with Thursday and Friday post times of 7 p.m. CDT and weekend and holiday post times of 1:30 p.m. The 17th Minnesota Festival of Champions, a program dedicated to Minnesota-bred runners, , will be held the final day of the meet.

Despite static pari-mutuel handle, Canterbury has managed to maintain its purse structure. In 2010, the track expects to pay an average of $127,000 in purses, about the same as this year.

“We were pleased, in light of the current economic situation, with the 2009 season,” Canterbury president Randy Sampson said in a statement. “Fans continued to turn out and enjoy racing, and we are hopeful they will again next season. As we plan our promotional calendar for 2010, we will continue to develop new ideas that will appeal to a broad base and offer value for the entertainment dollar.”

Canterbury is located about 15 minutes from a large tribal casino. The track, which has a card club, continues to lobby for expanded gambling.