Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Year Ahead Holds a Lot of Promise

“May your horses run swiftly & return safely; all your wagers be winners; and this great game of ours prosper like never before!”
-          Old Greek Proverb

Well, it is actually a new proverb written by an old Greek just last night (I prefer middle aged, but my children would argue that point) on Twitter, but it still applies.  2013 has a lot of potential to be an outstanding year.

In Minnesota, things have never been better.  That may not be entirely true as I understand the ‘80s, when Canterbury Downs opened, were pretty spectacular, but in my tenure here – 8 years this summer – the outlook for the future has never been brighter.

Canterbury Park’s 2013 stakes schedule was released a few weeks ago and features five stakes worth more than $100,000.  In my time here only the Lady Canterbury was $100,000 or better and that was reduced the last few years as well.  This year the Lady Canterbury will return to $100,000 and the second running of the Mystic Lake Derby will increase to $200,000.  The Northbound Pride Oaks will also return to $100,000. There are also a couple of newly created six figure stakes on the calendar as well: $125,000 Mystic Lake Mile and $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes.

While 2012 had a lot to get excited about it also brought with it sadness as we lost Dark Star early in the year.  The Chaucer Cup was one of Dark’s favorite races and its coming back to Canterbury next year in the form of the $50,000 Dark Star Cup.  I hope he still gets a big kick out of the race!

The 20th running of Minnesota Festival of Champions is going to offer up $370,000 in purses – $40,000 more than was offered in 2012.  A really cool addition, in my opinion, is that four of the stakes this year will be named for the most prestigious past winners.   The Distaff Sprint will be named for Bella Notte, the Sprint for Crocrock, the Distaff Classic for Glitter Star and the Classic for, naturally, Wally’s Choice.

The two major Minnesota-bred 3-year old stakes, the Minnesota Derby and Oaks, will be run for $75,000 – the most since the late 1980s.  All of this made possible through the cooperative marketing agreement between the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Canterbury Park.

And stakes aren’t the only races that have gained in purse and prestige, the purse allotment for the season will be double of what it was for the 2011 season.  More opportunities for everyone to try and turn a profit while enjoying the most fun you can have at a racetrack.

2013 shows a lot of promise – I’m looking forward to doing my small part in making it work!

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