Canterbury Park's 2018 live racing season concludes with 13 races Friday and 14 on Saturday. In all, 318 horses have been entered for the final two days where more than $660,000 in purses will be awarded, bringing total purse disbursement during the 70-day season to record heights of more than $15.2 million, an average of approximately $220,000 per day.
Total handle, the amount of money bet on each live program, will also reach a new high. Through last Saturday, nearly $45 million, including on and off track dollars, has been wagered on Canterbury's races, a jump of 9.4 percent compared to last season.
“We have had a very good summer of racing with solid attendance and wagering,” Canterbury President Randy Sampson said. “The month of May was difficult due to weather but we quickly hit our stride and made great gains in June, July, August, and September. We will conclude the meet with an exceptional two days of racing.”
Increases in purse payments is a direct result of a 2012 cooperative purse enhancement and marketing agreement between Canterbury and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community which owns and operates Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, located just three miles south of the racetrack. The agreement, which calls for $75 million to be added to purses over 10 years, immediately drew the attention of racehorse owners and bolstered the state breeding program.
The increase in the quality of racing at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack produced a rise in handle as more horseplayers took notice locally and nationally. Total handle has more than doubled since 2010, the last full racing season prior to the SMSC agreement, with revenues from the increased wagering also helping to grow purses.
“Our partnership with SMSC has been tremendous for the racing industry in Minnesota,” Sampson said. “Racing and breeding in the state can be done with confidence.”
Friday's program begins at 5:00 p.m. and Saturday's at 12:45 p.m. General admission is $7 for adults. Children 17 and younger are admitted free. Additional information is available at www.canterburypark.com .
Jockey Ry Eikleberry, with 83 victories, enters the final weekend with a 10-win lead over Orlando Mojica. Eikleberry last won the riding title in 2014.
Mac Robertson, who has won 11 training titles at Canterbury, leads Robertino Diodoro by three wins, 53 to 50. Robertson has entered 29 horses for the final two days while Diodoro, who has twice been top trainer, has 28.
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