Canterbury Park: One final day

Canterbury Park wraps up its 2017 season Saturday with a 13-race card, highlighted by the $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile, which will feature some of the country’s fastest 2-year-olds. Here’s what to look for as the curtain falls on another summer of racing in Shakopee:


Post time Saturday is at 12:45 p.m. Admission is $7, with children 17 and younger admitted free. General parking is free.

Terrific twos

Canterbury has produced some outstanding 2-year-old thoroughbreds this season. Three of them run in the Shakopee Juvenile, a race that is perhaps the most talent-rich in the track’s history.

Amy’s Challenge, trained by Mac Robertson and owned by Joe Novogratz of Chanhassen, holds the highest Beyer Speed Figure of any 2-year-old in North America this season. The filly earned a Beyer of 91 in a 16 ½-length victory on Aug. 6. Soul of Discretion recorded a Beyer of 85—putting him among the top 12 in the nation — when he won his first start by 13 lengths for trainer Dan McFarlane. The Minnesota-bred Mr. Jagermeister, trained by Valorie Lund, has two victories and a second in three races and has won $83,000.

Canterbury raised the purse of the 6-furlong Juvenile from $50,000 to $75,000 to attract the three horses. It also is adding a $25,000 bonus for Minnesota-bred horses; there are four state-breds among the field of 11. The Juvenile is the ninth race on the card, with an estimated post time of 4:39 p.m.

Title chase

Robertson already has claimed his 11th Canterbury training championship. Going into the final two days of racing, he had 62 victories—well clear of Robertino Diodoro (35) and Bernell Rhone (34)—and $1.6 million in earnings, a track record and more than twice Diodoro’s haul. The jockey and owner titles are still up for grabs.

In a spectacular debut season at Canterbury, jockey Jareth Loveberry entered the weekend with 69 victories and $1.45 million in purses. Orlando Mojica, third in last year’s final standings, has won 65 races and $1.44 million in purses. Loveberry will ride 25 horses in the final two days, including Amy’s Challenge, and Mojica is scheduled to ride 20.

Curtis Sampson leads the owner’s standings with 16 victories, two more than Novogratz.

Season trends

Canterbury’s average daily handle is expected to rise this season, surpassing the record of $627,594 set last year. Handle bet on Canterbury’s races at out-of-state locations is on track to increase by about 4 percent, and field size also is projected to increase slightly.

Attendance is expected to be flat for the 67-day season, the shortest since 2012.

“Our racing quality continues to improve because of the level of purses we offer,’’ track president Randy Sampson said. “More trainers and owners are bringing race-ready horses to Canterbury, and horseplayers nationwide are becoming more familiar with Canterbury each season. Those factors generate more betting. The racing industry in Minnesota has a healthy future.’’