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Canterbury stakes schedule worth $1.76 million

Canterbury Park's 2013 Thoroughbred stakes schedule includes 26 races worth $1.76 million, an increase of more than 20 percent compared to the 2012 season. The 69-day race meet, the longest the track has conducted since 2006, begins May 17 and concludes September 14.

Earlier this year, Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community entered into a cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement that will inject $75 million into the horsemen purse fund over the agreement's 10-year span. As a result of the agreement, overnight purses increased retroactively during the 2012 season and total purses offered in 2013 will be nearly double what were paid in 2011.

Five six-figure stakes races, the most offered in a single season since the Shakopee, Minnesota, racetrack reopened in 1995, will be grouped on two key dates, July 13 and August 3.

On August 3, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby, offering the largest purse since the $250,000 St. Paul Derby in 1991, will be run along with the $100,000 Northbound Pride Oaks which increases by $25,000 compared to last season, and the newly created $100,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes.

July 13 is the first running of the $125,000 Mystic Lake Mile as well as a stakes schedule fixture, the $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes, now in its 21st running.

The richest Minnesota Oaks and Derby since the late 1980s, each with $75,000 purses, are scheduled for August 10.

"The opportunities and stability made possible by the SMSC purse enhancement agreement will rebuild the equine industry in Minnesota as existing breeders increase their activity and others relocate here," Canterbury Park President Randy Sampson said. "The stakes schedule and overall purse structure will draw new racing stables to Canterbury as those operators realize what an attractive place Minnesota is to do business."

The 20th running of Minnesota Festival of Champions, a day dedicated to horses bred in the state, is scheduled for September 1. The six-race stakes line-up offers $370,000, $40,000 more than was offered in 2012.

The $50,000 Dark Star Cup, commemorating local media personality and Minnesota racing ambassador Dark Star who died earlier this year, will be run June 8.

Condition books and stall applications will be available in January.

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