Lawsuit pits horse tracks over agreement on purses

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 14, 2012 - 10:30 PM

Running Aces sued to void a contract that requires it to contribute to Canterbury Park. At issue is a deal with a casino.


Running Aces Harness Track near Forest Lake.

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The operator of Running Aces Harness Park has filed a civil suit against Canterbury Park and its horsemen, claiming their decision to stop pursuing racino legislation constitutes a breach of contract.

In the lawsuit, filed in Hennepin County District Court, North Metro Harness Initiative LLC requests that its purse fund agreement with the Minnesota Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association -- which represents Canterbury's horsemen -- be declared null and void. The deal was struck in 2005, when the harness track in Columbus was seeking its initial operating license. It agreed to contribute to Canterbury's purse fund if the HBPA did not oppose the license.

According to the suit, the Running Aces payments would stop when racino legislation was enacted. Last summer, Canterbury Park signed a 10-year deal with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community to contribute $75 million to its purses in exchange for dropping its quest for a racino and opposing future racino legislation. By supporting Canterbury's agreement with the tribe, the suit claims, the HBPA breached the contract with Running Aces by making it impossible to stop the payments.

The suit also claims that Canterbury interfered with the purse agreement between Running Aces and the HBPA, because its deal with the tribe caused the HBPA to end support for racino legislation.

HBPA President Tom Metzen said Running Aces stopped making its monthly payments to the purse fund on Aug. 16. The HBPA and Canterbury both have filed motions to dismiss the suit. "It has no merit at all,'' Metzen said.

In addition to ending the purse agreement, the suit seeks damages in excess of $50,000 from Canterbury Park and the HBPA.

Metzen said the HBPA has offered to help Running Aces reach a purse-enhancement deal with another casino-owning tribe that would be similar to the agreement between Canterbury and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux, who own and operate Mystic Lake Casino. He said he has not received a reply.

The Minnesota Racing Commission will discuss the yearly license renewals and proposed 2013 racing dates for both tracks at its meeting Thursday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78


question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters