Sep 19, 2023 - Sports

A trifecta of trouble for Canterbury Park

Horses come out of a starting gate

Canterbury Park had fewer races this season and less wagering. Photo: Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Canterbury Park wrapped up its 2023 racing season on Sunday, capping off a disappointing summer at the Shakopee horse track.

Why it matters: A steep decline in wagering, fewer horses, and smaller prizes are major concerns for Canterbury and the state's horse breeding industry.

What happened: This was the first season in the past 10 years without the annual $7 million payments the track has gotten for its purses — the money paid to horse owners — as part of a marketing agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

By the numbers: Total purses fell by 35% compared to last year; the total amount wagered was down 52% and the field size fell 10%, according to the Star Tribune.

What they're saying: "It's incredibly worrisome. These are sad times for horse racing in Minnesota," Scott Rake, a longtime thoroughbred breeder and owner from Elko New Market, told the paper.

Between the lines: Canterbury officials will again be lobbying to be included in any legalized sports betting bill that goes before the state Legislature next year in order to beef up purses again.

  • A stalemate between the tracks and tribes over whether the tracks should get licenses or revenue has derailed previous efforts to pass a bill.

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