Canterbury Park’s last August weekend will bring the highest stakes ever for the 26th year of the Minnesota Festival of Champions races, with $100,000 in purse money for eight races, plus $65,000 for the four undercard races, according to a recent press release.
The Festival of Champions races have been a Canterbury racing staple ever since the “State Tournament of Horse Racing” was first held in 1992, according to the release.
“Breeders and owners are investing in Minnesota horse racing like never before. Increasing the rewards on our most important day of the race meet shows an appreciation for that investment,” Senior Director of Racing Operations Andrew Offerman said. “These Minnesota bred racehorses can compete anywhere in the country but on Sunday they all will be here. Race fans are in for quite a show.”
Mr. Jagermeister, the 2018 Canterbury Park Horse of the Meet who has yet to race at Canterbury this year, is entered in one of Sunday’s races. A setback sidelined him until earlier this month when trainer Valorie Lund shipped the 4-year-old and his jockey Leandro Goncalves to Colonial Downs in New Kent, Virginia to win a $100,000 purse on Aug. 17. Goncalves will ride Mr. Jagermeister Sunday in the eighth race for owners, Kristin Boice, Leslie Cummings, and Lund.
“I’m excited to be racing [Mr. Jagermeister] at home,” Lund said. “He is very, very sharp considering the long haul out there and the long haul back. He is really training well.”
Mr. Jagermeister’s fiercest competition will be Mister Banjoman, who has won three of four starts this season, including the $100,000 Minnesota Derby and the $50,000 Victor S. Myers Stakes. His trainer Mac Robertson is the all-time leading Minnesota Festival trainer with 32 wins. Mister Banjoman is owned by Joe Novogratz of Chanhassen and will be ridden by Orlando Mojica.
The first race is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Sunday.
Minnesota’s fastest dogs race on Monday
This summer’s fastest basset hounds, bulldogs, Corgis and dachshunds will return Monday to compete in four championship races between horse racing to determine the best of each breed. Top dogs from each breed will then race in a Battle of the Breeds championship race to determine the “fastest dog in Minnesota.”
Live horse racing begins at 12:45 on Monday. Basset hound and bulldog races will occur at approximately 1:50 p.m., and the Corgi and weiner dog championship races will begin at approximately 3:05 p.m. The Battle of the Breeds race will start around 4:15.