By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Horse-racing season was supposed to have kicked off this past weekend at Canterbury Park.

For the owners — the Sampson family — that is a big financial burden. But just as stressful is that the people that have worked there are, for now, out of work.

“Everybody’s in the same boat so we just need to all get through this eventually, and we’ll all learn from it,” Randy Sampson said. “Had to send about 800 people on to furlough. It was very difficult. Hopefully we’ll get them back onboard soon. It really is one of the main things we focus on … How do we get our people back to work?”

Sampson knows, 26 years into his family’s ownership of Canterbury Park, they now need to look to get creative.

Curbside pre-race betting is one option, but hardly an answer.

“It certainly is an option that we want to be able to offer our customers, the ability to come out, if they can’t watch the races live, at least come out and make some bets,” Sampson said.

A 52-day season is the goal, understanding that this racing season is one, like a lot of businesses, where you just need to try to get by.

“We are optimistic that we can get racing going in June, and hopefully we’ll be able to, as the summer goes on, have at least some level of crowds,” Sampson said. “It is a case where we have to look around. It’s frustrating to look around and everyone’s in the same situation, and we all need to put safety first.”

Mike Max