06/15/2010 11:00PM

Purses up at Prairie Meadows

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On June 7, Prairie Meadows increased purses in overnight races for the remainder of the meet. Claiming races were increased $1,500, and allowances races were increased $2,500.

Racing secretary Dan Doocy said the purse increase was necessary to prevent carrying over an underpayment at the end of the meet. The purse increase seems to have caused increased activity at the claims box. There have been 13 claims since the increase over last six racing days, compared with 47 claims from the 28 racing days before the increase.

* Prairie Meadows has no stakes races scheduled this weekend, but Friday's seventh race, a conditioned allowance, has drawn a stakes-caliber field of seven. Chris Richard sends out Native Ruler, winner of last year's Prairie Meadows Sprint and Prairie Meadows Express. Native Ruler ran fifth in this year's Prairie Express. He is dropping to the allowance ranks for the first time since October of 2008, where he won a conditioned allowance at Churchill Downs. Coach Jimi Lee, the track record holder for six furlongs (1:07.85) will be making his 2010 debut. The 10-year-old gelding finished second to Native Ruler in last year's Prairie Express.

* Iowa-bred Sakakawea won her third straight at the meet when she took an allowance race by a 1 3/4 lengths on Tuesday. The speedy 4-year-old mare has won six of seven races on the Prairie Meadows surface and earned $174,810.

"If everything goes perfectly we may run her against the boys on Iowa Classic night, but I would like to get another race in her in July," said trainer Ray Tracy.

Sakakawea's half sister, Scat Geena, will be making her first start on Friday's card.

* Nominations for the Iowa Festival will be held on June 25 and June 26 and includes the Grade 2 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker, Grade 3 Iowa Derby, and Grade 3 Iowa Oaks.