02/08/2010 1:00AM

Six fewer stakes during shorter meet

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Prairie Meadows will host 33 stakes worth $2,295,000 during its 2010 meeting, the Des Moines-area racetrack announced last week.

The 2010 totals are down slightly from 2009, when Prairie had 39 stakes worth a little more than $3 million, but Prairie also has altered its basic racing schedule this year. Gone is the mixed Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred meet from past seasons, and in its place comes a 67-day Thoroughbred meet running from April 23-Aug. 7. Including the mixed meet in 2009, there were 82 days worth of Thoroughbred opportunities.

Pared from the 2010 stakes schedule were five stakes contested last year - the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Sprint, the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Oaks, the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Derby, and two $50,000 stakes, the Prairie Meadows Freshman and Debutante - all of which were scheduled during the mixed portion of the 2009 racing season.

A new race has been added for 2010, the $60,000 Prairie Juvenile Mile on Aug. 6. The July 24 Prairie Meadows Handicap got a $25,000 purse boost to $100,000 this year, and several more minor stakes took $10,000 bumps upward. The Iowa Distaff, however, was cut $25,000 down to $100,000.

The Iowa Distaff is part of Prairie's Iowa Festival of Racing, two nights of open stakes that produce the highest quality product of the summer. The 2010 festival has been scheduled for June 25-26 this year, and is headlined as usual by the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap.