Canterbury Park to open horse stables under Minnesota's revised stay-at-home order

Canterbury Park has announced it will open its horse stabling area on May 8 under the revised Stay-At-Home order announced by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday. Live racing is still on hold, but Canterbury says, "we intend to race this summer."

The Canterbury Park stables will reopen with access limited to racehorses in need of shelter, which will allow Canterbury to accept horses from racetracks and other facilities around the country that will close in the coming weeks. The opening of the stable area, originally scheduled for April 24, had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic

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“We are confident in the plans we have prepared for the May 8 limited opening of the stable area when we begin providing shelter for racehorses and those that care for them,” vice president of racing operations Andrew Offerman said in a statement. “We have gathered the best information possible and assembled a series of best practices that have been proven to work in the current environment.”

Canterbury’s 140-acre stable area is the summer home to nearly 1,500 horses and 300 workers.

Track officials expect that the majority of the horses arriving in early May will come from Turf Paradise in Phoenix, which ceased operations in March. Those still stabled at Turf Paradise have been notified that they and all horses will be required to leave the premises by May 10.

Canterbury Park’s live horseracing season was originally scheduled to run May 15 through Sept. 12, but the season was delayed and 850 employees furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Track officials plan to announce a revised live racing schedule in the coming weeks when there is further clarity regarding available purse funds, operating requirements and specific protocols and approvals that may be required by state and local authorities.

“We intend to race this summer, knowing that it will not be business as usual and that uncertainly is still high,” Canterbury Park President and CEO Randy Sampson said. “We want to provide a safe place for horses to race and those that care for them to work. We also want to bring our team members, many of them employed here for two decades, back to work.”