New Trackside Venue at Canterbury Won't Have Betting, Will Eliminate 6.5 furlongs Races



A proposed entertainment complex to be built outside the first turn at Canterbury Park will feature a “high-end” restaurant, a music venue, and an outdoor bar and patio with a games area and fire pit, according to plans filed with the Shakopee, Minnesota, planning commission.

The two facilities on the 15-acre site, to be known as “Boardwalk Kitchen & Bar” and “Stables,” will be right up against the outer rail with an up-close view of the action when Canterbury's season runs between May and September.

But despite the desirable location and the name choices that are evocative of gaming and horses, neither facility will be wired into the track's pari-mutuel system, and customers won't have direct access to tellers or self-service terminals so they can bet on the races.

“We're not anticipating any gaming,” Jason Haugen, Canterbury's vice president of real estate, told the Shakopee Planning Commission at a Jan. 4 meeting, at which board members specifically asked whether there would be wagering the proposed site.

“There's no betting,” Haugen said.

The planning commission did raise a concern that people might use cell phones while at Boardwalk or Stables to place wagers on the races through an advance-deposit wagering platform.

But after briefly discussing the difficulty of establishing geo-fencing to prohibit such wireless access, board members agreed there was no simple way to “legislate” against mobile betting.

The planning commission ended up voting 5-0 to advance the overall proposal to the city council.

Over time, according to the documents submitted to the commission, development in that area is expected to include other entertainment and recreational venues, such as more restaurants, a hotel, pickleball courts, or a bowling alley. Boardwalk and Stables are just the first phase.

After the meeting, TDN asked Jeff Maday, Canterbury's media relations manager, to explain the reasoning behind not having wagering at such a prime trackside location. He replied that it has to do with a developer taking over control of that parcel of land.

“Minnesota law does not allow wagering on Canterbury races outside the confines of the two racetracks,” Maday wrote. “Because the land will be sold to a third-party developer, it is necessary to remove the parcel from the Class A license. We are currently looking at potential solutions as we do believe this is a great fit in our development plan and will be a gathering place for race fans.”

A map of the track overlaid with the proposed development shows that the parcel will take over a portion of the dirt chute where Canterbury's sprints start, and this will eliminate the track's ability to run 6 ½-furlong races.

“Provided our request to remove the property from the Class A license is approved by the Minnesota Racing Commission, and we expect it will be, then there will no longer be races at 6.5 furlongs in 2024,” Maday wrote.

Maday confirmed that the starting point for six-furlong races will be unaffected, and that the track “likely will run more of those.”

According to a count provided by Maday, Canterbury ran 45 races at 6 1/2 furlongs in 2023, compared to 74 at six furlongs.

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