06/04/2012 5:42PM

Canterbury Park, Sioux form pact


\SHAKOPEE, Minn.  -  Canterbury Park the and Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux have come to a 10-year agreement that will provide millions of dollars in purse enhancements for the track while providing the Sioux with security from a possible racino at the track. The two entities announced the agreement at a joint press conference Monday

Under the provisions of the agreement, the Sioux community will contribute $2.6 million in purses in 2012, an additional $5.3 million in 2013, and further increase its purse enhancement payments to a maximum of $8 million annually from 2018 through 2022 for a total of $75 million over the life of the agreement.  Additionally, Canterbury will receive $8.5 million over the term for joint marketing programs. Canterbury Park has agreed to drop its pursuit of a racino and will join the Sioux in opposing expanded gaming that isn't already approved for the racetrack.

"This is a great day for Minnesota horse racing and for our two organizations," said Randy Sampson, Canterbury Park's president and chief executive officer. "We view this agreement as the milestone that will mark the rebound of Minnesota horse racing and our local equine industry. If approved by the Minnesota Racing Commission, this partnership sets aside longstanding political differences over gaming and allows us to devote our attention and resources to great racing and rebuilding a prosperous horse industry in Minnesota. We're very excited to explore the many possibilities this agreement creates for both organizations, our communities, the Twin Cities, and Minnesota."

With the racetrack and the Sioux-operated Mystic Lake Casino located only four miles from each other, there is the opportunity to market the region as a gambling and resort destination.

"There's a natural synergy between Canterbury Park and Mystic Lake Casino Hotel that we're very enthusiastic about developing," said Edward Stevenson, president and chief executive officer of the SMSC Gaming Enterprise, which operates Mystic Lake. "Add that factor to our physical proximity to one another, and it becomes evident how we can help one another with marketing, promotions, events and more. We think this partnership will further identify the southwest metro area as the premier entertainment and gaming destination for Minnesota and the Midwest while providing significant financial support to horse racing at Canterbury Park and much-needed stimulus to the Minnesota equine industry."

The impact of the agreement on purses will be immediate following approval by the state's racing commission:  30 to 35 percent retroactive to the first day of the 2012 meet. The lowest purse level at the racetrack will increase from $7,000 to $9,000.  Statebred maiden special weights will increase from $18,000 to $25,600 while open maidens will increase from $14,500 to $20,000.  Most stakes races will be enhanced by the agreement, including the Northbound Pride Oaks (to be worth$75,000), the Minnesota Oaks and Minnesota Derby ($65,000), and the flagship Lady Canterbury Stakes ($100,000).

The Minnesota Racing Commission is scheduled to take up the agreement at its next scheduled meeting on June 21.