SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO) — All bets will be off at Canterbury Park Friday night and beyond, unless a budget deal can be reached at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Canterbury Park in Shakopee is regulated by the Minnesota Racing Commission, which was deemed a non-essential state operation prior to the state government shutdown. Spokesperson Jeff Maday said that means close to 1,000 of the estimated 1,100 workers at the racetrack and park will be out of work or furloughed.

Racetrack photographer Andrea Thelan is among them.

“This is my only paycheck right now, my only job,” said Thelan. “It’s kind of a suspenseful game, I’ve been crossing my fingers, writing letters and emails to legislators.”

Thelan said this is her first job after graduating from college six months ago, and said she is going to struggle to survive and pay her student loans.

Horse trainers said they’ll take a bigger hit. Trainer Bryan Porter of Texas says he has $50,000 to $60,000 on the line for Sunday’s race, and now odds are, he’ll take his horses out of state.

“I went toKentuckyto get stalls on Tuesday, I was inIowaand Indiana too. I have made a living doing this my whole life, I can’t sit for three weeks and wait for something to happen, can’t do it financially,” said Porter.

Canterbury park officials said Thursday they were hopeful they could keep the card and blackjack club portion of the business open, which runs 24 hours a day. Maday said now hopes of the card club staying open for business aren’t likely either.

He said Canterbury Park will wait to see if a judge will consider a petition to stay open on Friday. Thursday morning, the motion was filed and consolidated along with other businesses trying to stay open.

Comments (11)
  1. bill says:

    It is called a gamble. Feel the pain like the rest of us. To bad,

    1. Chris says:

      and I do suppose it is situationaly correct. Horses/Gambling…you know right?

  2. Jim says:

    Listen bill, the MRC is pre funded by Canterbury for the year. It does not come out of the general fund, there is no reason 1100 workers had to be out of a job with irreparable harm done.

  3. Arvilla Chapman says:

    Canterbury Park should not be shut down. Close the casino part of it which is State Operated but do not close the track itself.
    This is hard on the horsemen and the horses itself.
    I should know,
    I use to own and trained my own race horses.
    This is what brougt me to Minnesota was Canterbury Park which was Canterbury Downs.
    This will hurt Canterbury Park even shut down for a few days.
    The horsemen cannot afford to leave and come back.
    It cost money and is hard hauling the horese around.
    Some horses are not easy riders in a trailer.
    Some can injury theirselves due to phobia and many other reasons.
    It can confuse them going to another track, etc.
    Please, Minnesota do not do this to the horsemen!

    1. MattMN says:

      It is amazing that so many people get it wrong. The “casino” (which is actually the card room) is NOT run by the state. It is run by Canterbury Park, and is overseen by the Minnesota Racing Commission (or MRC), just like the track itself. As Jim stated, the MRC is paid for by participating racetracks. In this case, this would be Canterbury Park in Shakopee and Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus. The MRC is fully funded by the tracks themselves and require NO funds from the state’s general fund. There is no reason, other than political gamesmanship, that these facilities need to be shut down. That is the crux of the argument that Canterbury Park and Running Aces have been making to Judge Gearin. Hopefully the judge will agree with their arguments, since this time of the year is a major time for them and this ridiculous delay causes real pain for the employees of the tracks, card rooms, and associated businesses around the facilities.

  4. thgir says:

    Why is the state running a race track? Isn’t this a great place for private business to step up and provide a service that the goverment has no business in?

    Maybe the state can sell it, the zoo, some of the parks, and other services that private (found on google) business can run.

  5. Mike says:

    There is some confusion here. This is a private business operated by private employees. The only state involvement is the regulatory authority, which expenses are reimbursed by the racetrack. The state doesn’t operate the racing, it doesn’t operate the card room. All of these jobs are created by the private sector. The only thing keeping the track closed is the fact that the state never allocated money to the racing commission (money which is paid in advance by the racing industry). Absolutely no tax payer money is used to run this facility, it is criminal that the state is shutting it down.

    1. Guy says:

      Why do we NEED a state REGULATORY AUTHORITY anyway? SMALLER government – get their fingers out of everbody’s wallets.

  6. greystone says:

    First Mr. Sampson withholds raises for 3 years from his employees, and now when He is facing the same issue of no income , he is claiming that Canterbury will lose $1 Million per week? where did all that money come from? Did you have it all the time? Nice going.
    I am sorry for all of the employees, but Sampson and company, hell no. I kind of hope this goes for a while now.

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