MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s a chance the Triple Crown winner American Pharoah could race here in Minnesota.
Canterbury Park officials want the horse to compete in their Mystic Lake Derby in August. They would increase the winnings for the race if American Pharoah entered.
Martin Frary loves horse races. He’s been betting on them at Canterbury Park for 30 years.
“I got married in the paddock almost 19 years ago,” he said.
He knew even before last month’s Kentucky Derby that American Pharoah was something special.
“I said, ‘That horse is going to win the Triple Crown,'” Frary said.
Now, Canterbury Park officials are trying to get the award-winning horse to race on their track.
“The neat part is they wanted to hear what we have to say,” Vice President of Racing Eric Halstrom said.
Halstrom said that to have a shot at getting American Pharoah in their Mystic Lake Derby, the track would make changes.
Canterbury would up the purse from $200,000 to $2 million. The race would take place on dirt instead of the usual turf. And they would use the infield to handle crowds.
“The only way that we can take 30,000 people at Canterbury Park and have one of the greatest days in racing is to bring the greatest horse we’ve seen in the last 40 years,” Halstrom said.
Canterbury officials say it’s still a long shot to get American Pharoah to the park — but not impossible.
For fans, it would be a dream come true.
“I’d love to get a picture of my own of that horse,” Frary said. “I’d do a selfie.”
Canterbury officials face competition in August from a very prestigious race — the Travers Stakes in Saratoga Springs, New York.
The purse for that race is $1.25 million, but Canterbury’s offer would surpass that. Halstrom says only the Breeder’s Cup offers a higher purse, at $5 million. A $2 million purse would be equal to that of the Kentucky Derby.
They hope to have an official pitch by the weekend.