Canterbury Park’s 52-day racing season opens on Wednesday, June 10 with an incredibly attractive low takeout rate of just 10 percent on its new pick five, a daily wager on the last five Thoroughbred races of the day.

“This is a tremendous move from the Canterbury team and one that horseplayers should reward with support,” said Patrick Cummings, Executive Director of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation. “There are many complexities around pricing and the revenue splits that horsemen receive, much of which has needed re-evaluation for a long time. Canterbury’s on-track business is a huge driver of purses for horsemen, so attracting significant online play through low takeout is much needed.”

The Shakopee, Minnesota track, which routinely features some of the largest daily on-track attendance figures in America, will open with 250 guests permitted to attend the races in the aftermath of the COVID-19 shutdown.

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis covered the news which even caught track officials off-guard.  

“[Andrew] Offerman, Canterbury’s vice president of racing operations, said he was in “complete shock’’ when the order was released. All previous guidelines would have prohibited spectators, and most tracks around the country are not allowing fans because of shutdowns related to COVID-19.

“Canterbury’s staff will have to scramble to have betting windows, food service and other amenities ready for the fans Wednesday when the season opens with a nine-race card. It’s a challenge, Offerman said, but a welcome one.

“This was so unexpected, based on the guidance and the information we’d received,’’ he said. “It certainly adds a much higher note to opening day.

“Officials at the Shakopee track had been preparing to conduct a 52-day season with no fans, with nearly all wagering conducted online or by phone. They still are developing a plan for drive-through or walk-up wagering in Canterbury’s parking lot, which would allow Minnesotans not at the track to bet on Canterbury races.

“State law prohibits residents from wagering on in-state races online or by phone.”

As of now, the 10 percent takeout rate is the lowest in America for a multi-race bet. The Thoroughbred Idea Foundation’s January 2020 white paper “American Racing’s Sustainable Future” noted the success of Canterbury, its ongoing development project, and its profitability over 22 of its last 23 years, as of its 2018 results.  

Wednesday’s pick five starts with the fourth race, with post time due at 7:10 PM Eastern.