First Interview of the Season

As the backside begins to fill and we start moving toward live racing, we have the first interview of the year with one of our trainers, Nevada Litfin.  He’ll talk about what’s coming and what it’s like on the backside with the “new normal”.

We’re hoping to finalize a deal and introduce our two horses shortly.

 

Progress. Slow, but Progress

Canterbury Park’s stable area opened up over the weekend and the first horses have arrived, mostly from Phoenix (Turf Paradise) but soon horses from Hot Springs, AR (Oaklawn) will start to arrive as well.  Though there has not been a definitive date set to start racing, we’re all hopeful that we will get the green light for racing to begin in early to mid-June.

In preparation, we are looking at a bit of a different strategy this year.  Whatever happens with racing, should racing commence it will be different than past years with one of the differences being a shortened meet schedule.  We don’t know the exact numbers of days but it will be less than the traditional 67-69 racing days of past years and could be as few as 50.

Nevada Litfin is looking into the possibility of sharing ownership of two horses with us: 50/50.  This would give us a pair of runners in that barn and Karl will claim something from either Lone Star or Will Rogers (or maybe opening weekend here) which would give us three runners to follow for the season.  This would ensure us more racing opportunities and give us an extra horse to follow for the season – hopefully making up for the some of the lost time.

It is VERY likely that racing will be conducted without fans for much, if not all, of the 2020 season.  That does cut down on some of the activities that we usually are able to bring to you: kick-off and closing breakfasts, paddock and winners’ circle (hopefully) visits and backside tours.  We will look to be a little creative on how we can bring some of that to you throughout the season perhaps doing a virtual backside tour or a “Facebook Live” morning workout session or whatever else we (or you all) can think of.

We hope that we will hear about racing shortly and when we do, we’ll bring that to you as soon as possible, probably first through the twitter feed (@CBY_Racing_Club) and the Facebook page and then with a post.

We appreciate you hanging in there…things are slowly looking up.

News Bits: Moving Closer to Having a Season

Here are a couple of news blurbs on the latest news from Canterbury Park:

First, Governor Walz indicates that he’s open to the idea of opening Canterbury, but with certainly no spectators to start:

http://www.mwpaddockreport.com/walz-open-to-canterbury-racing-this-season/

And then the track formerly submits requests to be able to open the backside to horses:

http://strib.mn/2Kn4Kxa

Hopefully we’re starting to get some clarity into what may be an odd, but functioning, 2020 racing season.

 

Minnesota Racing Updates

Here are a couple of updates.  The first is a press release issued by Canterbury on Monday, the second is a letter from Dr. Scott Rake, President of the Minnesota HBPA regarding the status of opening the racetrack.  Track management acknowledges in the press release that it will not be possible for opening day to be pulled off on May 15 as scheduled.  I believe the most likely scenario is an opening some time in June.

Again, because the Club has finite resources, we will be waiting to acquire a horse until the picture is clearer – we do not have $2500/$5000 for a month or more of no racing and straight training bills.  All the entities involved in Minnesota racing will be doing all they can to run as full a meet as they can so hopefully we won’t lose too many days of racing. The cancellation of the Twin Cities Summer Jam should help in that respect, but we are still in a “wait and see” mode.

We’re all looking forward to be racing again sooner rather later but also need to be prudent with our resources so we can be racing when our season does start here.  Please stay safe & stay healthy.

CANTERBURY PRESS RELEASE

Shakopee, Minn. — Canterbury Park racing officials along with the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, the organization which represents owners, trainers and jockeys working at the Shakopee, Minn. racetrack, are continuing to formulate plans for a 2020 live racing season with a modified schedule. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race meet was to begin May 15 and run 65 dates through Sept. 12.

“We recognize that live racing will not be possible on May 15 but continue to work with the Minnesota HBPA to determine the best possible summer racing schedule, “ Canterbury Park President and CEO Randy Sampson said.

Canterbury Park and the Minnesota HBPA intend to work closely with the Minnesota Racing Commission, the state body charged with regulating Minnesota’s horse racing industry which annually generates an economic impact in excess of $400 million and contributes more than 5,500 jobs to Minnesota’s economy, to ensure that proper protocols will be implemented to protect all workers when the horse stabling area opens. Guidelines provided by the CDC, the Minnesota Department of Health, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and recently updated guidance from the University of Minnesota Extension program designed to assist the Minnesota horse industry are being used in the initial preparations. Canterbury officials announced in March that the stabling area would open no sooner than May 1.

“We have horsemen at racetracks around the country that are currently training and racing and they are important resources during these very challenging times. We are using the best information available from all known resources,” Vice President of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “We consult daily with other racetracks, assembling best practices that have been successful for those currently operating to ensure we are providing the best possible care for all equines as well as those working with them.”
Uncertainty across the country has created a significant shortage of available stabling for America’s racehorses. Canterbury is the summer home for more than 1,500 horses and provides stabling and shelter free of charge to trainers and owners throughout the duration of its season.

“Canterbury Park and the Minnesota HBPA will do as much as we can to assist the horses and their caretakers during this difficult time but we need to do so in a smart and responsible manner for Minnesota and the local community.”

Offerman has extended the date for stall applications to Monday, April 13. He expects to have a revised Condition Book in May. More information is available at http://www.canterburypark.com .

On March 16, Canterbury Park officials announced the temporary suspension of activities including card casino, horse race simulcast, and special events operations at Canterbury Park in response to the pandemic. The company also announced its intention to pay all regularly scheduled employees for two weeks. On Wednesday, April 1 company officials announced the implementation of temporary unpaid furloughs impacting approximately 850 employees. The limited number of key personnel that remain are subject to salary reductions that will remain in effect until the company returns to normal operations. Sampson called the recent decisions made by the board of directors “the most difficult we have ever faced as a company.”

Subsequent to the company’s March 16 voluntary suspension of activities, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-04 and subsequently Emergency Executive Order 20-18 causing the closure of bars, restaurants and other public accommodations including Canterbury Park until May 1, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

HBPA PRESIDENT LETTER TO HORSEMEN

Dear Friends of Minnesota Racing,

I don’t think there is any need to further detail this extraordinary time in the history of, literally, the world. It is unprecedented in the modern era and next to impossible to predict in the near-term future. But what we do know is that there is a light at the end of tunnel, even if we can’t know when that light will shine down upon us. To that end, you should know that I and the entire board of the Minnesota HBPA are completely focused to ensure the best possible outcome for the women and men who train our horses, who own our horses, who care for our horses, for all of us who cheer on and love our horses.

We can’t leapfrog science and act myopically in the short term by ignoring the reality of Covid-19. But what we can do is prepare for that inevitable day when racing comes roaring back in Shakopee. That will be one special day. To make this day a reality, I have been in constant contact with Canterbury Park CEO Randy Sampson and Vice President Andrew Offerman, State Veterinarian Dr. Lynn Hovda and various members of the Minnesota Racing Commission. Rest assured, this is an exceptional group of individuals with whom we’ve been able to determine numerous key issues and contingencies going forward. As we don’t know what will materialize in the future, we do have plans in place for whatever does.

Lastly, I ask for your patience and for your understanding. Please know that I and the Minnesota HBPA will be totally transparent. After all, we’re all in this together. So I ask you to resist the temptation to believe whatever rumors you may be hearing. Simply put, we at the Minnesota HBPA, Canterbury Park and the Minnesota Racing Commission are working together and can’t wait until we have a set date for when our great sport resumes at Canterbury Park. Trust me, we will be the first to let you know. Until then, stay safe, remember all those great moments of the past at Canterbury Park and know there are so many more yet to come.

Sincerely,

Dr. Scott Rake
President of the Minnesota HBPA

 

Status Quo

As the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated over the past week we’ve seen a lot of moves that could be called “unprecedented”.  With track closures all around the country, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness moved to September and racing’s 2020 future uncertain, we are going to hold off claiming a horse until the picture becomes clearer.  What we do not want to do is claim a horse and then have racing halted for a month.  We would be paying for training with no possibility of any income and, with a finite amount of money, we need to be more cautious and make sure that we’re in the game when there is sure to be a game!

While Canterbury has temporarily closed for simulcasting and cards, work is still moving forward toward a May 15 opening so we are optimistic that we will be able to claim or buy before then and be racing opening weekend.  There is still a lot of time between now and then and we’ll be watching events closely and maintaining communication with our trainers and sister racetracks.

In the interim, stay home if you can, be safe and wash, wash, wash those hands!

We’re Rolling

Just a couple of more days and we’re going to send Karl and Nevada off shopping.  If you haven’t sent your money in by then, you’ll be cashed out and sent a check so the group can get rolling.  I’m hopeful that we can be all set and shopping as early as next weekend.

If you have not picked up your win photos at the track (3rd level information window), you have until this Saturday (2-29).  By mid-afternoon I will pick up all the extra and have them in my bag, you will have to corral me (Ted) at the track to get your copy.  I’m there most Saturdays before live racing and then most live racing days EXCEPT Thursdays.

Expect a post the middle of next week to talk about accounting, where the money is going, etc.

It’s all finally getting real again!  Can’t wait to get racing and thank you all for re-upping and looking forward to a great year!

Still Waiting to Finalize; Laura Ray Update

2020 Update

We are still not finished compiling everyone.  There are a few folks that say they are coming back but have not paid.  We will be setting a deadline and if they don’t follow through, we will send them a check, cash them out and move on.  We’re trying really hard to be accommodating to everyone that wants to come back but it’s getting to be time.  Karl and Nevada are waiting.

Remington Park Photos

Speaking of delays.  There are still a dozen or Ender win photos from Remington waiting to be picked up at the Canterbury information desk on the 3rd floor.  If you are on the list, please pick up your photos.  At some point soon they are going to be moved out to clear some space and you will be out of luck.  If you are a Clubber and didn’t order a photo but want one, there are a few extra as well.  Please remember, these photos cost us all $20 each and it’s like throwing away money if they don’t get picked up.

Laura Ray (Harley)

We received some footage of Laura Ray (now named Harley) from her new owner and boy is she coming along!  It’s never wrong to do the right thing and this is absolutely heartwarming.