MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Celebrating a resurgence of racing, Canterbury Park wrapped up one of its most successful seasons in its colorful history.
Over the course of 69 days, attendance and handle, which is the amount of money bet on Canterbury races, rose to the highest levels since 1995.
Wagering at the Shakopee track rose 4.8 percent compared to 2012 while off-track betting on Canterbury’s races soared 46.7 percent.
The increases can be credited to increased exposure. Canterbury’s Thursday and Friday night races were televised nationally by TVG, a horse racing network carried by most cable and satellite providers.
Better racing is a cornerstone of the surge in interest. A partnership with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community last June will boost purses by a total of $75 million over 10 years.
“As we become more visible and our racing quality increases, people across the country play our races more often,” Jeff Maday, Canterbury’s media relations manager, said. “By getting the word out and letting people know that our racing is better, it’s attracted a lot of new interest.”
For the first time since 1991, Canterbury’s 1,600 stalls were filled as several new horse trainers came to Minnesota.
Average daily attendance was 6,656, a Canterbury Park record.