Canterbury Park will open its 24th season of live racing Friday, kicking off a 70-day meet at the Shakopee track. Total purses for thoroughbred and quarter horse racing are expected to reach $15.2 million, the largest of the Canterbury Park era and an increase of $1.4 million over 2017.
The schedule: May 4-Sept. 15. Live racing will be held Friday-Sunday through June 3, with Thursdays added to the schedule on June 7.
Usual post times: 6:30 p.m. weekdays; 12:45 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays, holidays.
Admission: $7 regular; $9 premium days; $1 Thursdays. Ages 17 and under are free.
Opening weekend: The clubhouse level will open at 8 a.m. Friday, with the simulcast of the Kentucky Oaks card beginning at 9:30 a.m. Post time for the Kentucky Oaks is 5:12 p.m. Post time for the Eight Belles Stakes, an Oaks undercard race featuring the Minnesota-owned filly Amy's Challenge, is 11:35 a.m. Canterbury's eight-race card starts at 6:30 p.m.
On Saturday — Kentucky Derby day — the clubhouse opens at 8 a.m. The Derby undercard starts at 9:30 a.m., with the Derby scheduled to go off at 5:50 p.m. Canterbury's 10-race card starts at 12:45 p.m. and includes the season's first two stakes races, the $50,000 Paul Bunyan and the $50,000 L'Etoile du Nord.
Season highlights: Canterbury will debut a new event, the Mystic Lake Northern Stars Racing Festival, on June 23. It includes the richest race of the season, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, as well as the $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile and the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes. There also will be a fundraiser for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund featuring national Hall of Fame riders. The $500,000 Festival of Champions, the annual day of racing for Minnesota-bred horses, is Sept. 2. Other popular events include Extreme Race Day (July 14) and the Indian Relay Races (Aug. 23-25).