07/10/2006 11:00PM

Mixed meet set for 36-day run

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ALTOONA, Iowa - After an eight-day break following the conclusion of its Thoroughbred meeting, Prairie Meadows will begin a 36-day mixed meeting Thursday evening. The season runs through Sept. 9.

Prairie will distribute an average of just more than $98,000 in Thoroughbred purses per day during the meeting, essentially the same as at the comparable 45-day meeting in 2005. Since Prairie ran six Thoroughbred races per day last year and will run only five on most programs this year, per-race purses will increase approximately 18 percent from a year ago. Still, Thoroughbred purses per race will be approximately 15 percent lower at the mixed meeting than during this year's Thoroughbred meet.

The meeting is scheduled to have five Thoroughbred and five Quarter Horse races per day, with the possibility of a sixth race if a specific breed draws 50 or more entries for six races.

The 13th annual Iowa Classic Night, to be run Aug. 26, will once again highlight the mixed meeting. Classic night is an all-stakes program featuring six Iowa-bred Thoroughbred stakes in various divisions worth a total of more than $415,000.

Prairie Meadows all-time leading trainer, Dick Clark, goes for his sixth straight mixed meeting title, with the remainder of the top 10 trainers from the 2005 mixed meeting all back this year.

Defending champion rider Glenn Corbett goes for his seventh mixed meet title in the last eight years. Tim Doocy, who secured his third straight Thoroughbred meeting title here earlier this month, won the mixed meet title in 2004, and figures to again be Corbett's main threat.

Racing will be conducted on Tuesday afternoons with a 3:30 p.m. Central first post and on Thursday through Saturday evenings with a 6:30 p.m. first post. Special racing cards are scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 3, and Monday, Sept. 4, with a 1:30 p.m. post time on each of those days.

New casino wing almost ready

Prairie Meadows will open a new wing of its casino during the first week in August. The new area is part of a more than $60 million expansion, which is to be completed early next year. Prairie has scheduled many promotions and giveaways for the opening.

The new casino space will house 12 new table games, bringing the track's total to 57. It will also contain a high rollers area and approximately 100 slot machines, which will increase the total at Prairie Meadows to 1,600. When completed, the expansion will include a new events center, a steakhouse and a buffet, and another 400 slot machines.