Canterbury Park president Randy Sampson said Thursday that the Shakopee track is “highly unlikely” to start its live racing season as scheduled May 15, because of uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sampson and Andrew Offerman, Canterbury’s vice president of racing operations, said at a Minnesota Racing Commission meeting that they have been discussing the upcoming season with horsemen. The track planned to open its stable area on April 24, but Offerman said Thursday the barns will not open until May 1 at the earliest. Canterbury’s 65-day racing season is scheduled for May 15-Sept. 12.
On Monday, the track closed its card club and on-track simulcast wagering area. Sampson said the loss of revenue during the indefinite shutdown will have some impact on the purse fund, which could cause Canterbury to cut two or three racing days from the schedule.
“We haven’t made any decision on our scheduled start date, but it would appear that’s highly unlikely, and that we will be delaying the start of racing,” Sampson said. “That will depend on what we hear between now and then.”
Racing is continuing at several tracks around the country, though none are allowing spectators. On Thursday, New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack suspended its season when a worker in the stable area tested positive for coronavirus.
Canterbury will reevaluate the situation in late March, Offerman said, and hopes to have an update for horsemen by April 1.