Canterbury Park: Off Track Betting Horse Racing Tracks

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Shakopee, Minnesota, USA is home to Canterbury Park, a horse racing track. From early May to Labor Day, it hosts a meet with 62 racing days. Typically, scheduled races take place on Thursday through Sunday, with additional racing occurring on many holidays within the meet. The track itself has a seven-furlong turf course and a one-mile oval dirt track. In addition to multiple interior sitting options, there is outdoor seating available. Throughout the building, there are numerous food kiosks, restaurants, and simulcast betting options for the track.

Since its founding in 1999, Canterbury Park has played host to the horse racing equivalent of the Crown Jewel every year but two. A portion of every winning goes to the State of Minnesota. There is a card club in the park as well. Canterbury Park hosts two weeks of poker tournaments every fall.

Canterbury Park History

Walter Brooks Fields, Jr. and a few other investors founded Canterbury Downs. Fields and his nephew Brooks Hauser founded Minnesota Racetrack Inc. in 1982 when Minnesota voters approved a constitutional amendment that permitted parimutuel wagering on horse races, according to David Miller of the Daily Racing Form. The Minnesota Racing Commission granted Minnesota Racetrack Inc. the state’s first racetrack license, naming Santa Anita as its principal partner. The Shakopee venue had its maiden race on June 26, 1985. Canterbury Downs’s company continuously failed to meet income predictions due to the state lottery’s introduction and the expansion of casino gaming at local Native American-hosted facilities. In 1990, Ladbroke Racing PLC purchased the track.

Ladbroke Racing Corporation purchased Canterbury in 1990, renaming it New Canterbury Downs. It closed in December 1992 following a poor live racing season marked by a sharp decline in attendance. Irwin L. Jacobs purchased Canterbury towards the end of 1993 and promptly sold it to Curtis and Randy Sampson. The Sampsons sought to resuscitate Canterbury shortly after the sale, enabling it to reopen for simulcasting and rapidly pay off its debt. Canterbury fulfilled its pledge to bring live horse racing back to Minnesota in late 1994. Canterbury Downs became formally known as Canterbury Park in January of 1995.

Canterbury had to close as a result of the 2011 state government shutdown in Minnesota. Canterbury’s owners filed a lawsuit to reopen the property, but Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin denied it. On July 20, 2011, Canterbury Park reopened following the conclusion of the Minnesota state government closure.


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