Canterbury Park Sees Gain in Income

Canterbury Park income rises despite drop in total handle.

Canterbury Park’s parent company reported increased income during the third quarter of 2007 despite experiencing a 5% decline in total handle since the beginning of the year.

In financials released Nov. 13, Canterbury Park Holding Corp. (AMEX: ECP) said it produced net income of $589,992, up 12.5% over the same period of 2006, despite a 4.8% decline in revenues to $15,522,631.

The Shakopee, Minn., company also reported that total handle realized at its Canterbury Park Racetrack and Card Club was $76,424,000 through the first nine months of the year, down from the $80,448,000 recorded in the first three quarters of 2006. A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission did not detail specific handle totals for the third quarter, but did mention total handle declined by $1.9 million during the period.

“We are pleased to report an increase in net income in the third quarter in spite of the decrease in revenues,” Canterbury Park president Randy Sampson said in a news release. “This reflects the success of our expense-reduction efforts as well as efforts to increase the efficiency of our operations.

“The decline in revenues was disappointing, but not unexpected as we reduced the number of live races to better manage purse funds. In addition, the Claiming Crown, traditionally our largest racing day during the past few years, was not conducted at Canterbury Park this summer.”

Canterbury Park ran a total of 565 races during its 68-day meet that ended Sept. 3, down 4.9% from the 594 of 2006, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems. Total purses paid out during the meet declined 6.9% to $8,521,015.

Expenses were additionally controlled by expense-reduction efforts that included decreases in salaries and benefits and in advertising and marketing expenditures, the company said.

“As we manage the challenges in our core businesses, we are looking to the future and potential opportunities for growth”, Sampson said. “We continue to explore potential development options for our 380-acre site in Shakopee.”

Canterbury Park, which also operates a card room, reported it has not pursued any legislative efforts for additional alternative gaming such as slot machines this year, primarily due to a state legislature it views as “unlikely to favorably entertain our racino proposal.”

The company predicts a new state law banning smoking, which went into effect Oct. 1, will “adversely” affect future revenue and profits. The law does not apply to state casinos run by Native American tribes.

As of noon Nov. 15, shares of Canterbury Park were trading at $11.15, down 2% from the previous day's close. The stock is down 6.4% from a month ago.