With a potential government shutdown threatening the racing season at Canterbury Park, the Shakopee track and its horsemen have requested a temporary injunction to allow it to continue operating.
A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Scott County District Court, where Canterbury and the Minnesota Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association -- which represents the track's trainers and owners -- will make their case for keeping Canterbury open if the government shuts down on Friday. The HBPA also filed a motion last Thursday in Ramsey County District Court. It asks that a special master, if one is appointed, be authorized to make a recommendation on whether Canterbury can continue racing.
A government shutdown could force the track to close because racing must be regulated by the Minnesota Racing Commission, a government agency. But the MRC is funded entirely by the state's racetracks and horsemen. They have paid for all expenses through July, and they argue that entitles them to continue racing.
Should the track be ordered to close, the rest of the 2011 season could be canceled. Trainers would move their horses to tracks in other states; even if Canterbury reopened, many would not return, which could leave the track with too few horses to fill its races.
Track officials, too, are nervous about being shuttered for the busy July 4 weekend. It was announced Tuesday that quarter horse stakes races scheduled for Saturday and Monday -- including the $64,000 Northlands Futurity, the track's biggest quarter horse race of the season -- will be run on Thursday.
Post time for the Thursday evening card has been moved up to 6:30 p.m. from the usual start time of 7 p.m. to ensure it will be finished by midnight, when the track must shut down if it does not receive permission to stay open.