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Canterbury Park racing season begins on Friday night

May 19, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

Fillies Race for Hope and Minnesota Festival of Champions highlight 62-day meeting

The 2011 season at Canterbury Park begins on Friday night with a three-day weekend of Thoroughbred racing. Friday’s post time is 7:00 p.m. while races begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The opening night program consists of eight races, attracting 71 horses.

In addition to the simulcast of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of The Triple Crown,Saturday’s nine-race local program features a pair of $35,000 Minnesota-bred stakes at six furlongs—the 10,000 Lakes and the Lady Slipper&mdash. Tim Padilla trains both of last year’s winners, each returning Saturday to defend their titles. Bizet drew post three in the 10,000 Lakes and will be ridden by Ry Eikleberry. The 5-year-old mare Special Occasion will be ridden by Juan Rivera in the Lady Slipper.

Canterbury Park will offer 62 days of live racing this season, which runs through Labor Day. The popular ‘Buck Night’ promotion, which includes $1 general admission and food and drink specials, will be offered when Thursday night racing begins on June 16. Fridays feature Minnesota’s Biggest Happy Hour with live music and drink specials. Sundays are Family Day with free pony rides, face painting, and a petting zoo.

With more than 1,000 horses already on the grounds and another 300 or more expected to arrive soon, Canterbury management is hopeful for another successful summer. “The horse population is larger than at this time last year,” track president Randy Sampson said. “Entries for the weekend’s races have been going well. We are off to an encouraging start.”

“Outdoor sporting events, including horseracing, continue to be very popular with Minnesotans,” said Sampson. “The fans came out in record numbers last season and I anticipate that they will again this summer. At Canterbury Park, we have something to offer everyone.” In 2010, Canterbury’s average attendance was 5,858, a new record since the track re-opened in 1995.

The annual Minnesota Festival of Champions on September 4 highlights a stakes schedule worth nearly $1.4 million. New this season is the Fillies Race for Hope, a signature charitable event established by the Canterbury Park Minnesota Fund and Minnesota’s racing industry. Proceeds from the July 31 event will benefit The Hope Chest for Breast Cancer Foundation. More information is available at .

General admission to Canterbury Park is $5, with an additional charge for indoor, reserved seating. General parking is free. For additional information, call the box office at (952) 445-7224 or visit

Racing days and times

Live racing: Friday, May 20, through Labor Day, September 5
Post time on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays – 1:30 p.m.
Post time on Fridays – 7:00 p.m.
Post time on Thursdays (June 16 through August 25) – 7:00 p.m.
Special post time on Sunday, July 3 –4:00 p.m.

Significant Dates

Friday, May 20 – opening night
Friday and Saturday, June 10-11 – Blazin’ BBQ Weekend with national BBQ competition and festival
Sunday, July 3 – Fireworks Spectacular presented by Kwik Trip after the races
Sunday, July 17 – Extreme Race Day with camel and ostrich races
Sunday, July 31 – Fillies Race for Hope
Sunday, September 4 – Minnesota Festival of Champions
Monday, September 5 – Final day of live racing