07/15/2011 2:09PM

Canterbury Park: Budget deal imminent that would reopen track

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SHAKOPEE, Minn. – The starting gates are getting ready to spring open again at Canterbury Park. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, along with leaders of the state House and Senate, announced on Thursday evening the framework of a budget deal that would end the 15-day shutdown of state government, which includes the Minnesota Racing Commission.

The state budget still needs to be passed during a special session of the legislature, which has been tentatively scheduled to begin on Monday. Since the racing commission cannot operate until a budget is in place, Canterbury will lose the weekend of racing to the shutdown.

The track has been unable to operate live races, simulcasting, or its card casino since midnight, June 30. A track spokesman, Jeff Maday, said that from the time the track is given approval to resume operations, the card casino could be up and running in five to six hours, simulcasting not long thereafter, and live racing within 24 hours. Racing could begin as early as Thursday, the next scheduled live date.

After the weekend, Canterbury will have lost 12 cards to the government shutdown. The track’s president and CEO, Randy Sampson, said he hopes to be able to make up the lost dates with either added racing days through the remainder of the season or additional dates beyond the scheduled Sept. 5 closing date.