Curtis Sampson Dies

Curtis Sampson Dies

Chairman emeritus of Canterbury Park died July 16.

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Minnesota horseman Curtis Sampson, who helped reopen Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota, and guide it to its current successful state, died Thursday, July 16, 2020, at age 87.

Curtis grew up in Hector, Minnesota, and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1955. He worked in telecommunications, helping build, grow and sell a number of businesses. 

He bred and raced horses with his family, including at what then Canterbury Downs, which closed in 1992. 
Curt and his son, Randy, along with businessman Dale Schenian purchased the racetrack and surrounding property two years later and took the company public, with Curt as Chairman of the Board, Schenian as Vice Chair and Randy as company president of the newly christened Canterbury Park.

Live racing would return the following year, and the track has formed a successful niche market with high attendance and a close focus on a family-friendly atmosphere. The track expanded to having a card casino in 2000, and in 2012 formed a partnership with the nearby Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, which solidified the future of racing and breeding in the state. The track has recently announced a significant redevelopment plan for the property surrounding the racetrack. 

Curt was dedicated to people and the industry he had come to love, and his culture of loyalty, ethical business dealings, honesty, and community service is a hallmark of his leadership. 

Curt is survived by wife Marian, daughter Susan, and sons Randy, Paul and Russ along with 11 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.