09/14/2005 12:00AM

Nebraska set for last hurrah


SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. - As the live racing season in Nebraska draws to a close, Horsemen's Atokad Downs will roar back to life this weekend for a three-day mini-meet of six-race cards on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Formerly known as Atokad Park, the track was ordered closed in 1998 by the Nebraska State Racing Commission under financial duress and was sold to a local truck sales company. The track was purchased by the Nebraska Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in 2000 and reopened as Horsemen's Atokad Downs in 2001. The facility offers simulcast racing year-round and offered one day of live racing in 2001 to satisfy state law.

The meet was expanded to three days in the past couple of years and now offers six races daily with a minimum purse of $10,000. With the exception of one Nebraska-bred race each day, the races are restricted to horses that have made at least one start at any of the established Nebraska meets of Fonner Park, Lincoln State Fair, or Columbus Ag Park during the racing year.

Post time is 4 p.m. Central on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with races run approximately on the half-hour.

Shon Goodman, Atokad's new general manager, said he's hopeful of a successful meet.

"Things are going good, the track looks great," Goodman said Wednesday morning. "There have been a few horses galloping on the track."

Eight Nebraska-bred fillies and mares, led by Cassa's Affair and Flaming Night, are entered for a $15,000 starter allowance at a mile and 70 yards on Friday.

Nebraska's final day of live racing will feature Quarter Horses on Sept. 24, when Fairplay Park in Hastings conducts its one-day meet. The track, located at the Adams County Fairgrounds, will offer Quarter Horse and mule races.

At a glance: Atokad Downs

RACING SCHEDULE: 3 days; September 16, 17, 18.

POST TIME: 4 p.m. Central Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.



LOCATION: I-129 West to Hwy 77 South, on east side of highway; 1542 Atokad Drive; South Sioux City, Neb., 68776.


PHONE: (402) 494-5722

INTERNET: Email: atokad@cableone.net