Live thoroughbred and quarter horse racing begins at Canterbury Park this week following unanimous approval from the Minnesota Racing Commission (MRC). Pursuant to an Emergency Executive Order issued on June 8 by state Governor Tim Walz, the racing venue will accommodate a limited number of spectators during live racing and resume simulcast wagering operations today June 10. 

The MRC also approved an amendment to the existing cooperative marketing and purse agreement between Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) in support of the race meet. In addition, the company anticipates all table games in the company’s Card Casino will resume on June 15 with initial capacity limitations.

“We are delighted to announce the initial reopening of operations at Canterbury Park beginning with the start of our live racing season and the resumption of simulcast operations this Wednesday as we continue our longstanding support of horse racing in Minnesota,” said Randy Sampson, President and CEO of Canterbury Park. 

He added: “We are appreciative of Governor Walz’ recent Executive Action which allows for a limited number of spectators for our live racing and simulcast operations and also paves the way for the anticipated partial resumption of our Card Casino operations early next week. 

According to Sampson, his team has worked diligently with state officials, the MRC and the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association to prepare for the 2020 meet, which will feature 52 days of live racing until September 16.

On the venue’s opening plans, he advised: “Live racing and pari-mutuel wagering, which will be closely followed by our Card Casino, are the first steps in our phased reopening of Canterbury Park following the state-mandated shutdown in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We plan to approach all of our re-opened operations with a measured, safety-first approach as we implement a variety of sanitation and social distancing protocols designed to promote the safety of our team members, customers and patrons, the horsemen and the horses.”

Sampson also highlighted the importance of Canterbury Park as an “economic engine” for the greater Shakopee area. “The return of live racing with limited spectators and the resumption of activities, although limited, in our race book and Card Casino are but the first steps in releasing the full power of that engine,” he said.