02/09/2005 12:00AM

Prairie Meadows track report

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Prairie Meadows director of racing Derron Heldt and racing secretary Dan Doocy are in the process of criss-crossing the nation while trying to recruit horseman for the 47-day Thoroughbred meeting that begins April 21 and runs through July 4.

Visits have already been made to Tampa Bay Downs, Sam Houston, Mountaineer, Turfway, and Sunland Park. Heldt said he has trips planned to Oaklawn Park, Turf Paradise, and Hawthorne, as well as a return visit to Sunland.

Heldt said several trainers who haven't stabled at Prairie before have expressed interest in the meet, but that much work remains before stall applications are due March 7.

The training track is scheduled to open at Prairie on March 22, and the main track will open one week later. The track is conducting a search for a new track superintendent.

The racing surface at Prairie has generally been praised by horsemen, but over the past two summers has received criticism at times for being too hard.