When I read the recent column about Jeni Mackenthun and her experience working with Canterbury’s jockeys at , I couldn’t help but think about the impact has on our local businesses in the community.
During the racing season – from May through September – more than 600 people move into the community to work with the horses. Furthermore, hundreds of other people visit from other communities and states to watch their racehorses. These people come to our town and invest heavily in the local community. They stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants, shop at our stores and do much more within our city. That’s a significant amount of economic activity that would cease to exist if Canterbury Park was not here. When the track was closed from late 1992 through early 1994 the impact on our community was significant. Many businesses suffered as a result.
Recently, the Minnesota Racing Commission released its 2011 Annual Report and the numbers are frightening. In 2011, breeding numbers were at an all-time low in the state of Minnesota. Our business is leaving Minnesota to go to states that have passed and have increased the money available for racing purses.
Without a Racino, our horses, our jobs and our business will continue to leave for other states where Racinos have been approved. Racino legislation is imperative to ensure that the horses continue to run and that our community continues to benefit from the significant economic impact this industry generates.
As a 17-year employee of Canterbury Park and as a member of the racing industry for more than 20 years, I have seen other communities benefit greatly from passing similar legislation. The impact that will be felt within our community will be substantial. Jeni Mackenthun’s massage business, our local hotels and bars and many other businesses would recognize a substantial benefit from an improved – and longer – race meet. All of this could be made possible through the passage of Racino legislation.
Maday is media relations manager for Canterbury Park.