SHAKOPEE, MN – A gorgeous evening, a large crowd as well as “buck” night combined with great racing and high payouts to equal the largest non-Claiming Crown handle in Canterbury Park’s history.
A crowd of 7,657 came out to the races to launch the Fourth of July weekend Thursday night and combined with off-track handle of over $1,000,000 to generate a total handle of $1,260,309 on the 10 race card. Track officials credit the good size crowd, little competition for the wagering dollar on a Thursday night at off-track outlets and a solid racing product for the record numbers. The former non-claiming crowd record was set on July 3, 2014, traditionally a large attendance day at the Shakopee oval with their Independence Day fireworks launched on the 3rd.
The 10-race card, which included two quarter horse races to start the evening, had 86 starters for an average field size of 8.6 per race. The larger the field size gives players more betting options and results in higher handle because players can find more value and opportunity than they can in smaller fields with odds-on favorites.
The best value of the evening was another record breaker. This time it was a record breaking win payout in a maiden special weight going a mile and 70 yards over the turf.
In the fourth race, Congregation, trained by Vic Hanson, came up the rail late under Jenna Joubert and was able to edge out favored Disones Pretty at 79-1. Congregation paid $161 to win, eclipsing the $153 paid in 2014 by Burning Fuhry. The filly’s win also triggered a $401.30 one dollar exacta, a $3611.90 dollar trifecta and a .10 cent superfecta payoff of $1537.42.
Looking over the past performances, the lightly race 3-year old filly was trying the turf for the first time and routing for only the second. Making her second start of the season, Congregation showed a distinct dislike for sloppy conditions in her first 3-year old start, finishing well up the track when the race was moved off the turf. Her two year old starts were also less than stellar, though were dirt sprints.
Trained by an established, successful trainer and owned by the legendary Goebel family, the filly was trying something for the first time that she never had done before though was bred to do by Hold Me Back out of the Pulpit mare Megachurch. There were, however, enough questions to keep the wagering on her low but her backers were rewarded handsomely.
Friday night at Canterbury Park will feature a pair of turf stakes as well as fireworks after the races. There will be a special first post time of 4 PM.