MRC to hear license revocation response in Running Aces-Canterbury dispute

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 6, 2013 - 11:42 PM

Running Aces will be answering to a request from Canterbury horsemen to yank license over money dispute.


DAVID JOLES • Star Tribune file Lawyer Thomas A. Keller III will represent Running Aces before the MRC on Thursday.


The group that operates Running Aces Harness Park will go before the Minnesota Racing Commission on Thursday to respond to a request that its operating license be revoked.

The request was made last month by the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, which represents horsemen at Canterbury Park. It claims that North Metro Harness Initiative, operator of Running Aces, has failed to honor the terms of its license application by halting payments to Canterbury’s purse fund. NMHI stopped the payments last August and has sued the HBPA and Canterbury, seeking to end its financial obligation.

Running Aces also has stopped simulcasting thoroughbred and quarter horse racing after canceling a contract with Canterbury that allowed it to take wagers on those races. Without a contract, state law allows each track to simulcast only the breeds it runs during its live racing season.

Attorney Thomas A. Keller III will represent Running Aces at Thursday’s racing commission meeting. He sent a letter to the commission this week, arguing that the dispute is a private matter that should be resolved in court and that NMHI has not failed to live up to representations made in its license application, as the HBPA alleges.

“North Metro performed exactly as it represented it would,” the letter states. “North Metro made all required payments under the agreement for more than seven years. This is not a case in which North Metro misled or deceived the MRC. … The MRC should give no serious consideration to the HBPA’s request that the MRC revoke North Metro’s license.”

When Running Aces applied for its operating license in 2005, it agreed to pay a portion of its card-club revenues to help fund purses at Canterbury. The HBPA, in turn, dropped its opposition to licensing the harness track. The payments were to continue until legislation was passed to allow the tracks to install slot machines.

Last summer, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community cut a deal with Canterbury to contribute $75 million to purses over 10 years. In exchange, Canterbury agreed to drop its pursuit of slots and to oppose such legislation in the future. That deal, Running Aces contends, will make it impossible to end its payments to the purse fund — and it filed suit to end the agreement, claiming breach of contract. Hennepin County ­District Judge Ronald L. Abrams is expected to rule on the matter soon.

At a racing commission meeting last month, HBPA attorney Cort Holten cited a Minnesota law that says a license can be revoked for “failure to perform material covenants or representations made in a license application.” He said ceasing the purse-fund payments constitutes such a failure. Keller’s rebuttal letter said it does not, because the payment agreement was not finalized until after the license application was approved.

Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said there have been no talks between the tracks to resolve the simulcast issue. Since Running Aces canceled that contract on Feb. 19, it has been unable to simulcast thoroughbred or quarter horse races, and Canterbury cannot simulcast harness races.

Running Aces said in a statement that it wants to eliminate a payment of approximately $150,000 per year to Canterbury, saying it has paid “almost all of its simulcast profitability to Canterbury Park over the past five years.”

Sampson said the interruption of all-breed simulcasting has not significantly affected Canterbury’s purse fund or its finances, though he added that purses at both tracks will be impacted and that the situation “isn’t good for the horse industry.” While harness racing represents a small portion of Canterbury’s simulcast offerings, the majority of simulcast wagering at Running Aces is placed on thoroughbred and quarter horse races.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
NY Yankees 0
Kansas City 1 Top 2nd Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle 1 Bottom 1st Inning
Toronto 3
Chicago WSox 2 Top 2nd Inning
Detroit 0
Pittsburgh 0 Top 2nd Inning
Atlanta 0
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 2 1st Prd 14:49
NY Rangers 1
Detroit 0 1st Prd 14:44
Pittsburgh 0
Toronto 6:00 PM
Washington 0 1st Prd 14:25
Philadelphia 0
Minnesota 7:00 PM
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado 9:00 PM
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35


Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Time left for great deals

Bid thru Sept. 29




question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question


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