09/11/2007 11:00PM

Three-day Atokad meet opens

EmailThe live racing season in Nebraska will have one final hurrah this weekend as Horsemen's Atokad Downs closes out the year with a three-day festival of races geared toward horses that have run in the state this year. The meet will offer a bottom purse of $10,000.

Horsemen's Atokad Downs will offer six-race cards on Friday and Saturday and close out the weekend with seven races on Sunday. The races range from $2,500 claimers up to open allowance company.

Formerly known as Atokad Park, the track closed due to financial problems in 1998 and was sold to the truck sales firm Taylor-Martin. The Nebraska Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association bought a majority of the property back, sharing office space with Taylor-Martin, and reopened with a one-day meet in 2001.

The facility operates as a year-round simulcast facility serving northeast Nebraska and the Sioux City, Iowa, area. Atokad is located about 90 miles north of Omaha and its sister track, Horsemen's Park, which is also owned and operated by the HBPA. The HBPA's running of the two tracks has kept horse racing viable in this section of the state.

Post time Friday is 4 p.m., with a 2op.m. start on Saturday and Sunday.

* While Atokad offers the final Thoroughbred racing of the year, live-racing fans will have one last opportunity on Sept. 22 when Fairplay Park in Hastings, Neb., presents a pair of Quarter Horse races at the Adams County Fairgrounds. The state's only Quarter Horse meet, Fairplay Park presents an abbreviated card each year to keep the track recognized as a live race meet.