Virginia Peters runs a one-woman horse racing operation at Canterbury Park

Virginia Peters’ sons always believed there was an expiration date on her time at Canterbury Park. Once they finished high school — and were no longer around to help out in the barn — they were certain she would get out of the horse business.

That was 23 years, seven grandchildren and many, many horses ago. Peters, 73, still shows up at the Shakopee track year after year to race the thoroughbreds she breeds at her farm near Jordan. Her tiny operation is dwarfed by most stables at Canterbury, but she will be part of Wednesday’s Minnesota Festival of Champions when her veteran gelding Where’s Jordan runs in the $100,000 Blair’s Cove Minnesota Turf.

The festival celebrates the full scope of the state’s breeding and racing industry, from the high-earning 60-horse barns to the mom-and-pop stables such as the one Peters has run for three decades. A retired teacher, Peters also sews the silks for many fellow horse owners and has served on the board of the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association. She’s become part of the fabric of Canterbury, much like the Festival itself.

“I think my sons have figured out I’m always going to have horses,” said Peters, who currently has two thoroughbreds in training. “Here at Canterbury, I have so many really good friends, and that’s enabled me to keep doing this…