07/14/2011 2:55PM

Canterbury: Judge denies track's motion to reopen during state shutdown


SHAKOPEE, Minn. – Ramsey County District Court Judge Kathleen Gearin on Thursday denied a motion by Canterbury Park to reconsider her original ruling to keep the Minnesota Racing Commission closed during the ongoing state government shutdown. Without state stewards, veterinarians or other racing commission staff, Canterbury has not been able to race, simulcast, or operate its card room since the shutdown began July 1.

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

In her ruling, Gearin wrote that the “Court has not changed its opinion.” and that “funds from licenses and other fees imposed by the Commission and deposited in the state treasury require a biennial appropriation from the legislature before they can be distributed.” to the commission.

Canterbury officials on Thursday afternoon were weighing the possibility of an appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The track has already canceled Friday’s card and the remainder of the weekend’s races remain in jeopardy.

Gov. Mark Dayton has resumed budget discussions with legislative leaders to try and put an end to the 14-day shutdown. A special legislative session to pass a budget has not yet been called, which is the only way the stalemate can end.