06/01/2005 12:00AM

Prairie Meadows's $60 million facelift begins

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Prairie Meadows broke ground Wednesday on a $60 million expansion project. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2007, includes a 14,000-square-foot multipurpose structure that can accommodate 800 for banquets and 1,200 for concerts. It will house two restaurants, a 300-seat buffet, and a steakhouse.

Also part of the expansion are 500 new slot machines, which will bring the track's total to 2000, and more than 20 new table games.

The jocks' room will be nearly doubled in size and the saddling paddock and walking ring are also scheduled to be upgraded.

Meanwhile, a three-way battle is shaping up for leading rider. Through Wednesday, Tim Doocy, who won the title last year in his first season at Prairie Meadows, had a 35-33 lead over both Glenn Corbett and Alex Birzer with 21 racing days remaining in the 47-day Thoroughbred meeting.