Canterbury Park Industry-Low Takeouts Return in 2021

Chris Adams

Horse racing is an expensive game for race tracks. Unlike other sports, the prize money is supported by the gamblers. This leads to a substantial takeout rate. However, in 2020 Canterbury Park experimented with reducing takeout and giving more money back to the horseplayers. It was a huge success.

Takeout vs. Juice

One of the biggest gripes from horseplayers is how difficult it is to have long-term success at the races. Players need to not only beat the other bettors but the takeout as well which can be as high as 25% for single-race wagers.

Compare that to the roughly 5% average juice of many sportsbooks and it is easy to see why horseplayers want to see rates on the horses drop.

Canterbury Park

Nestled in Shakopee, MN, a suburb of the Twin Cities, Canterbury Park has always thrived on an experience that prioritizes entertainment. The events around their horse racing bring in traffic and increase on-site handle.

Among the most popular events are extreme race day, corgi racing, and the 4th of July fireworks celebration.

2020 Canterbury Park Racing Season

Like so many tracks in 2020, Canterbury found itself in a bittersweet position. They were allowed to race, but fans were not allowed at the beginning of the season. The track that relied heavily on an on-track handle, was now forced to find creative ways to drive revenue.

A Schedule Change

In 2020 the announcement was made that the track would be moving away from a Thursday-Sunday format to a Tuesday-Thursday evening format to increase signal distribution. This would help drive horseplayers from around the country to play the track as these days are much less busy and feature fewer marquee tracks than the weekend.

Industry Low Takeout

Perhaps the most welcome change for horseplayers was the introduction of an industry-low 10% takeout on both the pick 5 and pick 6. This meant that more of the money in the pool was going to the winners of the bets.

Needless to say, the bets were a smashing success as can be seen by the increase in handle.

In 2019 Canterbury had an average handle in the pick 5 of about $8,300 which totaled around $550,000 for the season.

In 2020 Canterbury ran 12 fewer race days, had no fans to start, and only gained limited attendance later in the meet. Despite these factors and the fact that Minnesotans cannot bet Canterbury Park via online platforms, the average handle increased to over $79,000. The total for the meet in the pick 5 handle was $4.1 million.

With the lower takeout players enjoyed the larger return on investment from swelling pools and less money coming out of the pool than anywhere else in the country. Multiple records for payouts were set throughout the season including several scores of over $50,000. Not bad for a $.50 base wager.

2021 Canterbury Park Season

With the smashing success of the wagers, Canterbury has announced the takeouts will return when the track begins the 2021 season on Tuesday, May 18.

The track will run Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings at 5 pm Central as well as select holidays and Sundays.

The track features quarter horses, thoroughbred dirt racing, and thoroughbred turf racing and can be wagered on from any major online wagering platform for non-Minnesota residents.

Playing the Pick 5

What is the Pick 5?

To win the pick 5 players must select the winners of 5 consecutive races. The minimum wager is $.50 and can be increased in increments of $.50.

Players may include more than 1 horse in each leg to create a better chance of cashing a ticket. However, each horse added increases the cost of the wager.

Calculating Your Ticket Cost

In order to calculate how much your ticket will cost with multiple horses you can follow the steps below:

  1. Multiply the number of horses used in each leg together
  2. Multiply the number from step 1 by the bet amount


Here are the horses to be used in each leg or race of the sample pick 5.

  • Leg 1: #1 and #2
  • Leg 2: #1 and #4
  • Leg 3: #1, #2, #3, #4
  • Leg 4: #8
  • Leg 5: #2, #4, and #5

The player is using 2 horses in legs 1 and 2, 4 horses in leg 3, 1 horse in leg 4, and 3 horses in leg 5. When the numbers are multiplied together (2 x 2 x 4 x 1 x3) the answer is 48.

48 is the total number of combinations the player has on their ticket, but the wagers in on $.50. To figure out the total cost of the bet the player would take 48 x .5 for a total cost of $24.

Vote With Your Betting Dollar

Many tracks are resistant to lowering takeout because it ultimately cuts into the bottom line. However, the benefit of playing Canterbury Park’s player-friendly Pick 5 and Pick 6 wager is twofold.

First, if you are serious about trying to make some money on the races, the lower takeout has proven to provide more of the big scores that can make your betting year.

The other reason to play the wager is that it signals to other tracks around the country that players will follow the lower takeouts.

When tracks see handle numbers like Canterbury Park from 2020 they are much more willing to consider enacting similar measures to stay competitive in the markets. This creates better overall wagering opportunities for players across the nation.

The first pick 5 of the season begins on Tuesday, May 18 in race 5 with a scheduled post time of 7:10 pm Central.

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