Canterbury officials expect to fill all 1,600 stalls on the backstretch.Defending riding champion Seth Martinez will return to defend his title against a group that includes Canterbury Hall of Famer Scott Stevens, who returns after a seven-year absence, and two-time champion Derek Bell. Training Champion David Van Winkle returns with 2002 Horse of the Year JP Jet.Weekday post time is 7 p.m. (CDT), while weekend cards get under way at 1:30 p.m.
Canterbury Park will kick off its 63-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet May 16. Highlight of the spring/summer season is the $550,000 Claiming Crown, a five-race series scheduled for July 19.The 2003 season features a 54-race stakes schedule worth more than $1.8 million. The Claiming Crown was held at Philadelphia Park in 2002, but the three previous years it was held at Canterbury.Daily purses will average $120,000, a number that could increase significantly next year should the Minnesota legislature approved plans for a racino complex at the Shakopee racetrack. Purse increases in recent years have been fueled by revenue from an on-track card club.