07/02/2011 7:02PM

Canterbury cancels Sunday, Monday cards after judge's ruling


SHAKOPEE, Minn. – Judge Kathleen Gearin on Saturday denied Canterbury Park’s motion to allow the Minnesota Racing Commission to stay open during the statewide shutdown, and as a result Canterbury has canceled its Sunday and Monday cards.

Canterbury argued that since the commission is entirely funded by the racing industry, receives no money from the general fund, and has already received reimbursement for expected July expenses, the track should be allowed to continue to operate during the shutdown.

In her decision, Gearin ruled that that the money could not be released to the commission without an appropriation from the legislature. Since the appropriation bill had not been signed into law, the money could not be released.

Track president and CEO Randy Sampson said the track will appeal the decision, but with the Monday holiday, the appeal probably can't be heard before the middle of next week. Canterbury's next scheduled race day is Thursday, July 7.

“I am extremely disappointed in Judge Gearin’s interpretation and ruling,” Sampson said. “We will seek an expedited appeals process. This is potentially devastating to Minnesota’s racing industry.

“With no chance for the 1,300 horses stabled on the backside to compete for purse money, the danger is that trainers will begin to take their stables from Minnesota and once they do, they will not return,” Sampson said. “This ruling puts the entire season in jeopardy.I appreciate the support and patience of the horsemen and our race fans. The state shutdown did not need to impact the racing industry and its employees.””