Canterbury Park ended its live race meet on Thursday, recording record wagering figures and paying horsemen a meet-record $15,558,701 in purses.
Wagering was robust during the 65-day season, 12 race days more than the pandemic-shortened 2020 meet, as a record $90,888,787 was handled, spurred by an average daily out-of-state handle of $1,267,985, a 4-percent rise over last year and a 179-percent increase over 2019. The 2021 total surpassed the previous Canterbury Park record of $68.4 million set last year.
With no COVID-19 restrictions in place this season, spectators returned and daily average on-track wagering increasing by 87 percent to $130,304, leaving officials at the racetrack thrilled about the season and optimistic for the future.
“It really was an encouraging racing season,” Canterbury president Randy Sampson said. “We maintained wagering levels out of state, but most importantly we saw racing fans return to Canterbury Park. Business levels increased throughout the summer which allowed us to continue to bring employees back to work and provide the race-day experience that our guests expect.”
Purse money averaged $239,365 daily, with $7.28 of the more than $15 million total contributed by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community through a cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement reached with Canterbury Park in 2012. SMSC owns and operates nearby Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. More than $6.6 million in purses was paid to owners of horses that were foaled in Minnesota.
“With the support of horse trainers and owners, we presented an excellent racing product which continued to attract wagering across the country,” Canterbury Park vice president of racing operations Andrew Offerman said. “We are grateful for the owners, trainers, breeders, patrons and team that contributed to this record season, and we celebrate the record purse distribution of more than $15 million dollars in 2021 that will allow industry participants to reinvest their earnings into future racing prospects and support vital components of Minnesota's agriculture industry.”
Jason Olmstead continued his dominance in the Quarter Horse ranks, easily winning his seventh consecutive training title with 26 winners from 113 starters. Tom Maher was the leading Quarter Horse owner with seven winners from 27 starters, and Edwin Escobedo was the top Quarter Horse jockey with 18 winners from 64 mounts.
Canterbury Park's Quarter Horse of the Meet, Lunderborg LLC's Jess Rocket Man, won four of his five starts during the meet, including the January 14 North Star State Derby (R) and September 8 Minnesota Derby (R). Edwin Escobedo rode the homebred 3-year-old son of world champion Apollitical Jess for trainer Jason Olmstead.
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