In another sign of summer’s end, Canterbury Park and Running Aces both conclude their live horse racing seasons Saturday. The thoroughbreds at Canterbury and the harness horses at Running Aces will be chasing rich purses and season titles, with large fields expected at the tracks in Shakopee and Columbus.
The schedule: 14 races on Friday (5 p.m.), 14 on Saturday (12:45 p.m.)
Admission: $7 (17 and under free)
The highlights: A whopping 307 horses have been entered for the final two days of the 66-day meet, with an average field size of 11 horses per race. Closing weekend includes a pair of stakes races each day. Friday features the $50,000 Tom Metzen HBPA Sprint and the $50,000 John Bullit, while Saturday has the $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile and the $60,000 MTA Stallion Auction Stakes.
It’s Mac’s world: Trainer Mac Robertson’s horses already have won a Canterbury Park-record $1.98 million in purses this season. Robertson leads Robertino Diodoro by three victories in the race for leading trainer and has 37 horses entered this weekend. Robertson is pursuing his 13th training title in the past 15 seasons.
The schedule: 14 races Saturday (5:10 p.m.)
The highlights: The track’s annual Night of Champions will offer $543,500 in purses, the highest single-day total in its history. The card has attracted 111 Minnesota-sired horses, headed by MD Magic, who has $62,550 in earnings this season and is the favorite in the $40,000 championship trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Bunkerhill Phil, whose nine victories are the most of any horse this season at Running Aces, is favored in the $50,000 championship pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings.
Two-legged champs: Dean Magee, with 84 victories this season, is poised to win the crown as leading driver after finishing second in each of the past two years. Kathleen Plested (40 victories) has the edge in the race for leading trainer, followed by Tim Maier (34) and Nick Roland (32).