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Horse racing returns to Canterbury Park on Saturday

The horses will be running on Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m., as well as Memorial Day, July 3 and Labor Day.
Credit: Canterbury Park

SHAKOPEE, Minn — Live horse racing returns to Canterbury Park this Saturday, starting a 54-day season that wraps up in the fall.

The horses will be running on Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m., as well as Mondays for Memorial Day, July 3 and Labor Day in September.

But wait... there's more. The Shakopee racetrack will have six consecutive 5 p.m. Thursday cards starting July 13.

"Canterbury Park is a staple of Minnesotans' summer entertainment calendar. We are looking forward to another season of competitive racing on the track complemented by fun events throughout the Park," General Manager John Groen said in a news release. "Our schedule includes many of the family-friendly promotions that have proven popular year after year including corgi racing, our Kwik Trip Fireworks Spectacular, Extreme Race Day with camels and ostriches, along with a full slate of food and drink-centric options for our adult crowd. Our goal is to provide great entertainment value for a wide array of fans to keep our regular visitors coming back as well as introduce new casual audiences to the excitement of live horse racing." 

Some of the bigger races of the season include the June 21 Northern Stars Turf Festival with the horses racing on grass for four races plus the track's crown jewel: The $100,000 Canterbury Derby.

The 36th running of the Northlands Futurity, the richest quarter horse race of the season with an estimated $86,000 purse, will be contested on Wednesday, August 16.

The Sept. 9 Minnesota Festival of Champions will show off some of the best horses in the state. It will offer more than $600,000 in purse money.

Tickets are on sale now. The public can buy tickets at the park but it's preferred that you purchase online. Parking is free. General admission for racing is $10 for adults and $7 for kids six to 17 years of age, with those under six admitted free. 

Some events, such as Taste of Canterbury, will require additional admission fees. 

If you're looking for a good deal you can go to the track on Wednesday nights with admission dropping down to five bucks.

Sunday is Pepsi Family Day with free pony rides and face painting for the kiddies. 

Canterbury Park will again offer the popular Post Time Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagers. Bettors need to select the winners of the first four races or the final five thoroughbred races.

"The takeout rate on both wagers is an industry low, resulting in a larger portion of the wagering pool being returned to winning bettors," according to the news release.

Canterbury's 29th season will wrap up on Sept. 16. The racetrack originally opened in 1985 but closed after the 1992 season. The track reopened in 1995 under new leadership.

Saturday's first race at 5 p.m. kicks off the three-day opening weekend that will include 26 races, 10 on the turf course. A total of 212 horses have been entered for an average field size of just over eight horses per race.

Here is a list of the signature stake races and promotions for 2023:

  • May 27 – Opening Night with 5 p.m. racing
  • June 3 – Taste of Canterbury – BBQ and Bourbon*
  • June 10 – Seltzer Fest*
  • June 11 – English Bulldog Races
  • June 18 - Father’s Day Food Truck Festival
  • June 21 – Northern Stars Turf Festival featuring $100,000 Canterbury Derby
  • June 25 – Basset Hound Races
  • July 1 – Taste of Canterbury – Tacos and Tequila*
  • July 3 – Kwik Trip Fireworks Spectacular with racing beginning at 4 p.m.
  • July 8 – Canterbury Uncorked wine event
  • July 15 – Hall of Fame Day with four state-bred stakes
  • July 16 – Extreme Race Day with camels, ostriches and zebras
  • July 30 – Corgi Races
  • August 5 – Taste of Canterbury – Whiskey and Wings *
  • August 6 – Coffee, Chocolate and Cupcakes Festival
  • August 12 – Minnesota Derby and Oaks and Beer Festival*
  • August 13 – Wiener Dog Races
  • September 2 – Taste of Canterbury – Craft Cocktails and Charcuterie*
  • September 9 – Minnesota Festival of Champions with more than $600,000 in stakes purses
  • September 17 – Final Day of 2023 Racing Season and Oktoberfest

   (*separate admission fee) 

More information on the season and track promotions can be found on the Canterbury Park website.

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