Canterbury Park’s 2017 live racing season will begin Friday, May 5 and run through Sept. 16. The Minnesota Racing Commission approved the racetrack’s request for a 67-day thoroughbred and quarter horse meet on Thursday evening.
Racing on Thursdays and Fridays in 2017 will begin at 6:30 p.m. and weekend and holiday racing at 12:45 p.m. On May 5 and July 3, racing will begin at 4:00 p.m.
“We are very pleased with the 2017 racing schedule,” Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said. “We will begin racing earlier than we have for the past eight years, with opening weekend coinciding with the Kentucky Derby. This allows additional opportunities for owners to run their horses and also better accommodates trainers coming from race meets that end earlier in the spring.”
From 2005 to 2008 the Canterbury Park meet also opened on Kentucky Derby weekend and produced some of the largest crowds in track history including 18,230 on 2008 Kentucky Derby day and 17,111 in 2006. The Kentucky Derby will be run May 6, 2017.
With July 4 falling on a Tuesday, Canterbury Park will conduct six consecutive days of racing, June 29 through Independence Day, followed by an eight-day break with racing resuming on July 13. The down time will be used for track and turf maintenance.
“A week-long break in the schedule is unprecedented at Canterbury but it serves the horse population very well and allows our track crew to make sure the racing surfaces remain in top shape for the second half of the meet,” Sampson said.
Canterbury Park racing officials will announce the 2017 stakes schedule and purse structure in January.