Higher purses revitalize Canterbury Park as expected

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 13, 2013 - 1:06 AM

Wagering, attendance and the number of horses all have increased at Canterbury Park this season.

 

He can’t say he was surprised. Randy Sampson has seen the formula produce results at other racetracks around the country, and he believed it would do the same at Canterbury Park.

The president of the Shakopee track predicted that higher purses would attract larger fields of better-quality horses, which would then stimulate more wagering. Through the first 30 days of a 69-day racing season, things are playing out just as he hoped. Average daily wagering on Canterbury’s races has increased 22.5 percent, and attendance and simulcast handles also have risen.

The track handled more than $1 million on consecutive days on July 3 and 4, which Sampson said was unprecedented in the 19 seasons he has managed Canterbury Park. He is anticipating another big day Saturday for the $125,000 Mystic Lake Mile and $100,000 Lady Canterbury. The richest thoroughbred races of the season thus far, each attracted full fields of 12 horses, with several shipping in from tracks such as Churchill Downs and Arlington Park.

The purse-enhancement agreement signed last summer with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has pushed purses 18 percent higher than last season — and more than twice what was paid out in 2011. That has filled Canterbury’s stables to capacity during a season that also has seen an uptick in average daily attendance (6,306, up 2.1 percent) and average daily total handle ($673,922, up 17.3 percent).

“This is what we’ve been waiting for,’’ Sampson said. “It is a breakthrough for horse racing in Minnesota. And it’s only the first step. We think things will continue to improve.’’

Stall superintendent Mark Stancato was scrambling Thursday to find stable space for the horses shipping in to run Saturday. He said the number of horses on the grounds peaked at 1,591 — 260 more than last season — and all 240 dorm rooms are full. The biggest complaint has been that some horsemen cannot bring in as many horses and workers as they want because there are no more accommodations.

By mid-July, Stancato explained, the number of horses usually declines as trainers move on to other tracks. This year, space remains tight in the 1,600 stalls. “For every two that leave, three want to come in,’’ he said. “It’s a lovely problem to have.’’

It’s also a rare one. National statistics show a downturn in wagering, purses and racing days at American thoroughbred tracks in 2013, with many struggling to fill races. Canterbury’s average field size has increased from 7.33 horses last year to 8.08 this season, making its races more attractive to horseplayers around the country.

Sampson said the track has marketed itself more aggressively through national channels such as the Daily Racing Form and TVG, a cable network that televises races and allows viewers to bet on them. That has helped fuel a 34.1 percent rise in daily out-of-state wagering on Canterbury’s races. And with more money in the betting pools, Sampson said, local players who bet heavily on simulcast racing have begun wagering more on Canterbury’s races.

The increase in the size and quality of the horse population has made it tougher to claim a piece of those fatter purses. Trainer Valorie Lund, in her third season at Canterbury, said some horses that could have won easily in past seasons are not having as much success this year.

Still, Lund noted, the higher purses mean that horses now can earn good money by finishing second or third — something that would have been impossible before. Even though her winning percentage has decreased, she is glad to be in Shakopee this summer.

“It’s a very strong meet,’’ Lund said. “Any time you have bigger fields, it’s good for racing, because it helps that handle go up. And that’s good for everybody. It’s exciting to see what’s happening here.’’

  • related content

  • Chart: Big year so far, big weekend ahead for Canterbury Park

    Friday July 12, 2013

    BIG YEAR, BIG WEEKENDA year after it signed a purse-enhancement agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Canterbury Park has...

  • Canterbury Park opens its season Friday with great optimism after seve...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore - LP: W. Chen 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 5
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Carrasco 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 14
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Bassitt 2 FINAL
Detroit - LP: K. Lobstein 0
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 1 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Houston 3 Top 8th Inning
Texas 4
St. Louis 7 Top 8th Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
Arizona 5 Bottom 7th Inning
Minnesota 1
LA Angels 1 Bottom 1st Inning
Oakland 1
San Francisco 1 Top 2nd Inning
Los Angeles 0
Colorado 0 Top 2nd Inning
San Diego 1
Chicago 24 3rd Qtr 10:26
NY Jets 13
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 0 2nd Prd 20:00
Philadelphia 0
Washington 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Minnesota 0 3rd Prd 2:45
Winnipeg 2
St. Louis 2 3rd Prd 16:49
Dallas 2
Anaheim 1 2nd Prd 4:14
Colorado 2
Colorado 0 1st Prd 8:33
Anaheim 2
Los Angeles 1 1st Prd 8:24
Arizona 1
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
Kentucky
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
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
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
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
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
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
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
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(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

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Time left for great deals

Bid thru Sept. 29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close