04/29/2012 6:55AM

Canterbury Park in line to gain $2.5 million for purses if legislation passes

Barbara D. Livingston
For the third straight year, Win Willy was recognized as the top Minnesota-owned horse of 2011.

SHAKOPEE, Minn. – The Minnesota Thoroughbred Association gathered at Canterbury Park on Saturday night to honor the 2011 breeding and divisional champions three weeks prior to the start of the 2012 racing season. 

Jeff Hilger, Minnesota breeder and president of the Minnesota Equine Development Coalition, briefed the membership on legislation working its way through the legislature in St. Paul that would expand the table games offerings at Canterbury Park and provide simulcasting at the state’s Native American casinos.  In a rare display of cooperation, horseman and Native gaming interests teamed up on a package that, if passed, could provide an additional $2.5 million in purses for Canterburyl. The bill passed the state Senate minutes before Hilger addressed the Association Saturday evening and will be taken up by the House on Monday.

For an unprecedented third year in a row, Win Willy captured the honors as top Minnesota-owned horse.  Win Willy’s 2011 campaign included victories in the Fifth Season Stakes and the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap as well as a second and third in the Essex and Grade 3 Razorback handicaps.  A 6-year-old son of Monarchos, Win Willy is owned by Jer-Mar Stables LLC and has amassed earnings of $287,500.

The horse of the meet, Tubby Time, was named top older male while Sheso Dazzling took top older female honors.  Victory Sled was top 3-year old male and Minnesota Oaks winner Bertslittlesister was champion 3-year old filly.  Heliskier, 10-length winner of the Northern Lights Futurity, was top 2-year old male and Keewatin Ice the top 2-year old filly.

Breeder awards were presented to Mary and Eric Von Seggeren, owners of Wa Sarah; broodmare of the year; Dr. Mohammed Al Deeb, owner of Demidoff, repeat winner as stallion of the year; and Astar Thoroughbred’s Stormy Business, winner of the Thoroughbred Times stallion award.  Curt Sampson swept the individual breeder awards, taking home the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and Charles Bellingham Awards as the top Minnesota breeder for 2011.

The 2012 season of racing at Canterbury Park will kick off with a Friday evening card on May 18.