Note: In this week's 8th Annual "Track Ratings and Industry Issue" of the Horseplayer Monthly, we'll have a feature interview with Canterbury Park officials. To sign up for the free magazine, delivered to your inbox, please do here.
Canterbury Park racing officials today announced a sweeping reduction
in pari-mutuel takeout that will result in the Shakopee, Minn.
racetrack offering a wagering product priced lower, on average, than any
track in the country. With win, place, show takeout set at 15 percent
and all exotic wagers at 18 percent, Canterbury Park will be the best
horse racing wagering opportunity in the United States when its 69-day
race meet begins May 20.
“Canterbury Park has long strived to be the most horsemenf-friendly
track in the country. Now, we want to be the most horseplayer-friendly
racetrack in America,” Vice President of Racing Operations Eric Halstrom
said. “With the growth in the quality of our racing program we, with
the support of our horsemen, are taking the next step and making our
races the most profitable wagering opportunity. By changing our takeout
to the lowest in the United States, we’re giving horseplayers worldwide
great value and drawing attention to what is sure to be the finest
racing season in Minnesota history.”
Horse racing is conducted using a unique form of wagering called
pari-mutuel wagering. Within the pari-mutuel system, all wagers are
pooled together and those that pick winners share the money within the
pool after a portion of the pool is withheld by the racetrack. This
withholding is called takeout. The takeout is used to pay for purses for
the races and to pay the operator, Canterbury Park, for putting on the
races and facilitating the wagering.
Racing and gaming industry economists suggest that handle, the amount
of money wagered, will increase substantially as takeout is reduced.
Canterbury officials are confident that bettors will embrace the lower
takeout and continually improving quality of racing with field size that
regularly exceeds the national average. Horsemen purses have increased
by 91 percent since 2010 due to tribal purse enhancements, and
out-of-state handle on Canterbury’s races has risen by 114 percent over
that same time period.
“We have been successful in increasing handle as our racing quality
has improved. However, substantial upside still exists, and we believe
this bold move will help us recognize that potential and create
passionate Canterbury Park fans throughout the country. We’re excited
to offer something that no other racetrack in the United States has –
the highest return to bettors all over the world,” Halstrom said.
Tom Metzen, President of the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent &
Protective Association, which represents trainers and owners racing in
the state, is in agreement with the takeout changes. “Racing at
Canterbury Park continues its upward trend and the Minnesota HBPA
supports the idea of a reduced takeout for our horseplayers,” Metzen
said. “It will not only increase handle but show race fans everywhere
what a jewel Minnesota racing is on the national scene.”
The reduction in takeout has also been met with widespread approval
from major racing organizations including the nation’s premier
horseplayer advocate group, the Horseplayers Association of North
“Canterbury Park has made a bold gesture for 2016, lower takeout for
all. Their new wagering menu offers tremendous value. It also tells me
they want my business,” HANA President Jeff Platt said. “I’ll be giving
Canterbury a long, hard look this year and would encourage horseplayers
everywhere to do the same.”
The takeout restructuring will be discussed by the Minnesota Racing Commission April 21.