01/19/2011 10:58AM

Prairie Meadows to run 33 stakes at its 67-day meet


ALTOONA, Iowa – Prairie Meadows will offer 33 stakes worth $2.9 million in 2011. The 67-day meet will run on a Monday-Tuesday-Friday-Saturday schedule April 22 through Aug. 13, and on Sunday July, 3.

The meet will be one week longer on the calendar than last year because the track, in conjunction with its horsemen, have agreed to eliminate four Thursday race cards. Prairie Meadows, which includes a large casino, and the Iowa Horsemen’s Benevolemt and Protective Association are in the second year of a five-year agreement regarding the race meet.

Purses in the state are set by state code and fixed at 11 percent of adjusted gross revenue of gaming receipts. Total purses will remain about the same as last year at $15.5 million, which includes $2.6 million for statebred supplements, and equates to a projected $230,000 per day in purses.

The meet is highlighted by the Iowa Festival of Racing to be held on June 24-25. The Iowa Festival of Racing features six stakes worth just over $1 million, including three graded races. The Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap, which was downgraded to a Grade 3 this year, the Grade 3 Iowa Derby, and the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks will all take place on June 25, the Saturday of festival weekend. The Saylorville, Distaff, and Iowa Sprint Handicap will all be held June 24.

The Iowa Classics, which showcase the state’s breeding program with six stakes worth a total of more than $500,00 will take place on Aug. 6, the second-to-last weekend of the meet.