McChump of The North - Part 1

[caution: The McChump of The North Tour was undertaken by a trained professional. Do not try this at home.]

-- Thursday, June 12 - Canterbury Park, Shakopee, MN --

Distance: 426 miles
Drive time: 7 hours
Construction zones: 8
Authority vehicles spotted: 8
Dead deer: 3
Times lost: 1
Most idiot infested stretch of road: Rockford, IL -> Beloit, WI

Despite the fact that I'd promised myself not to have too much fun at Wednesday night's softball game/excuse for a party, the first day of the McChump of The North Tour started out a bit fuzzier, and later, than I'd really intended. Still, I managed to arrive in the Minneapolis area promptly at the evening rush hour, and then managed to get lost in a vain attempt to avoid the rush hour traffic by taking some minor routes.

All's well that end's well though, and I pulled up in the Canterbury Park parking lot at about 6:00 pm, a whole 30 minutes before first post.

Parking: free. Admission, $3.00. Track program: $1.50, and you needed it as the DRF didn't have any horse numbers.

Canterbury immediately impressed me as a nice park to visit, very modern and spacious inside, with a beautiful paddock area out back. The plant itself has sort of a castle look, a la Prairie Meadows, except way more tasteful. I immediately scouted out the beer vending facilities, and found a miniature "Leinie's Lodge", complete with log cabin motif, on the first floor, where one could score giant, and I mean giant, Leinenkugel's beverages for a mere $3.50. Not bad. There was also a big selection of various food items for sale, and a guy handing out free peanuts.

I'd arranged to meet VOP partner Gary L. and CRT partner Harold E. while I was there, and went to the appointed place to find them. The Cby staff was very helpful and friendly trying to help me find the right spot, but the partners hadn't arrived yet, so I wandered off to check out the place a bit more and bet a race or two.

Ground floor kind of bites as a place to watch a race, because the toteboard blocks all view of the backstretch. There's some nice free seats outside on the 2nd floor balcony, and then the 3rd floor is enclosed clubhouse, which is where I finally found partner Gary L. at his usual table. Harold E. showed up and joined us shortly thereafter. Decent food on the 3rd floor, too, as I scored a nice sloppy joe for $3.00, and the special of the evening was shepherd's pie. Unfortunately, I didn't do a real good job of recording all the pricing details at Canterbury, so cannot quote the hotdog price. All in all, though, the food and beverage situation at Cby was above average. BSF: 95.

The racing this Thursday evening consisted of 8 TB races and 2 QH events, with purses ranging from $7500 for MN bred maiden fillies to $9000 for a N2X allowance to $5000 for $5k claimers. Sometimes it was difficult to see where the purse money was coming from, as the tiny Thursday night crowd didn't run the pools up to hardly anything, high point being a very competitive turf claiming event in which the WPS pools at post time were 10786/5427/3265. I learned from Gary and Harold that an OTB law had failed in MN, and there was now an effort to introduce slots, in order to keep MN horse racing afloat. The fields were also somewhat short, as I understand some of the regular stables have moved to Iowa for the higher purses at PrM.

The track itself is very nice, with a turf course that looks a bit overused, as it was a little rough, with permanent looking gate ruts at the mile start point, that the horses would jump over when they reached the ruts during the stretch run.

Betting wise, I did okay, managing to nearly double my cash voucher during the evening, including nailing one of the QH exactas. And the company was great - thanks much to Gary and Harold for taking the evening to come out and visit.

All in all, Cby wins a big McChump Tour thumbs up, and a recommendation to all to stop in and visit when in the Twin Cities area.

The Best Western Canterbury Inn also wins big bonus points for being so close you could stumble there, having a friendly and attentive bartendress, and having the bar full of racetrackers recounting the day's events.


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