Canterbury Park’s 2017 thoroughbred stakes schedule will consist of 32 races with more than $2 million in purses, racing officials at the Shakopee track announced Tuesday.
The richest race of the season, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, will be run Aug. 26. The Minnesota Festival of Champions will be held for the 24th time Aug. 20. The six thoroughbred stakes that day, all reserved for horses bred in the state, will pay $410,000 in purse money.
Opening weekend will feature a pair of 5½ furlong sprints, the Paul Bunyan and L’Etoile du Nord Stakes on Saturday, May 6 with a purse of $50,000 each.
“I am pleased with the well-rounded stakes schedule Canterbury will offer in 2017,” company president Randy Sampson said. “It will be very appealing to horsemen and owners across the country and continues our tradition of attracting quality fields that the horse-betting public seeks. We have seen several horses that competed in stakes here in 2016 continue to succeed elsewhere.
“When you couple our strong overnight purses with the stakes schedule, Canterbury Park is a great place for trainers to spend the summer months and find racing opportunities for their entire stable.”
Owners of Minnesota-breds will find a pair of new state-bred turf stakes June 10, the Minnesota Turf and Minnesota Turf Distaff. Both races will offer $50,000 purses.
The 67-day live racing season will begin May 5 and run through Sept. 16.
Twins add pitcher
Ryan Vogelsong, a 39-year-old righthander who made his MLB debut 17 years ago, has reached a verbal agreement on a minor-league contract with the Twins, according to a source with knowledge of the transaction, and will be invited to the team’s major-league spring training camp to compete for a job.
Should he make the Twins’ 25-man roster, he would be the team’s oldest player since Jim Thome in 2011.
After a decade of bouncing between the minor leagues and the Giants and Pirates, and a three-season stint in Japan, Vogelsong experienced a career resurgence in 2011. He won 27 games with a 3.05 ERA over the next two seasons in San Francisco and earned an All-Star berth in 2011.
He went 3-7 with a 4.81 ERA for the Pirates in 2016, and spent 10 weeks on the disabled list after being struck in the face by a pitch.