Shortened Season Ends on High Note for Canterbury Park
Canterbury Park’s live quarter-horse and thoroughbred racing season drew to a close on Sunday with average attendance for the season recorded at 6,143 – outstripping previous figures for the third year in a row. Although the figures confirm a growing interest in the Sport of Kings, officials are concerned that the twenty day shutdown of the track during the 2011 racing season will have a delayed negative impact on the Shakopee, Minnesota, racetrack’s 2012 season. It was noted, however, that on-track wagering statistics remained flat, despite the fact that the track was closed over the Fourth of July weekend – traditionally two of the largest wagering days of the season. Moreover, online wagering and simulcast wagering on Canterbury races from other tracks, increased by 6.3 percent.
While conceding that the loss of revenue in the 2011 season will be felt, Canterbury Park track President Randy Sampson noted that the overall numbers are encouraging and reveal that fans continue to enjoy live horse racing. He also pointed out that in conjunction with the races, the track had offered a number of special events which attracted large crowds and enabled first time visitors to experience the excitement of live horse racing. With regard to the 2012 season, Sampson said that there was a likelihood that the track would either have to offer lower purses, or run fewer races, with neither of these options being beneficial for the state of Minnesota and the racing industry.
The $35,000 Shot of Gold Stakes feature race on Sunday was won by Atta Boy Roy, trained by Valorie Lund, ridden by Rusty Shaw and owned by R.E.V. Racing. Minnesota-bred 5-year old, Tubby Time, won four races from five starts, and was named Horse of the Meet. Trainer of Tubby Time, Mac Robertson, clinched the title of Leading Thoroughbred Trainer for the seventh season in a row.
In the 2011 divisional championships at Canterbury Park, Tubby Time took honors for Horse of the Year, Older Horse and Grass Horse. Sheso Dazzling was awarded Older Filly or Mare; Wild Jacob was awarded Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding, with Polar Plunge as Three-Year-Old Filly Divisional Champion. Heliskier took the Two-Year-Old honors; Just Jebicah was awarded Sprinter champion; and Cruzin the Wagon took the Quarter Horse championship honors.