Altoona, IA – The Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission has approved Prairie Meadows Casino Racetrack and Hotel’s 28th season of live racing.
The 67-day Thoroughbred season will open Thursday, April 27, 2017 and end Saturday August 12, while the 26-day Quarter Horse season will start Saturday, August 19 and conclude on Saturday, October 14.
Post-times have been modified for 2017 and differ from the 2016 season. The most notable changes occur on Thursdays and Fridays. In 2017, racing will begin at 6:00 PM CT on Thursdays and Fridays instead of 5:30 PM CT. Weekend racing will continue with 1:00 PM CT post-times.
In 2017, there will be several new Special Race Days with varying post times. Triple Crown Saturdays (May 6, May 20, and June 10) will have a post-time of 4:00 PM CT. Post-times for Mondays, May 29 (Memorial Day) and July 3 will begin at 1:00 PM CT. Wednesdays, June 14 and August 9 will have a 6:00 PM CT post-time. Lastly, Saturdays, July 8 (Iowa Festival of Racing finale) and August 12 (Iowa Classic) will have a post-time of 4:00 PM CT.
These special post-times include the Iowa Festival of Racing. The festival continues as a three-day event running from July 6 through July 8, with two stakes races on each of the three days. The $100,000 Saylorville (L) and the $200,000 Iowa Oaks (Grade III) are scheduled for Thursday, July 6. The $100,000 Iowa Distaff (L) and the $250,000 Iowa Derby (Grade III) are set for Friday, July 7. The $100,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap (L) and $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (Grade III) are slated to close out the Festival on Saturday, July 8.
The Iowa Classic, which will feature seven all-Iowa bred Thoroughbred stakes races worth a total of $665,000, will cap off the Thoroughbred season on Saturday, August 12.
The Quarter Horse races kick off with the trials for the Iowa Double Gold Futurity ($175,000 est.) and Derby ($85,000 est.) as well as trials for the Iowa Stallion Futurity ($100,000 est.) and Derby ($65,000 est.) plus the first of three graded stakes for older horses this season with the $45,000-added Keokuk Stakes (GIII) going 400 yards. Labor Day weekend will showcase the finals for the Double Gold’s and Stallion races plus trials for the Prairie Meadows Regional Challenge races. On Saturday, September 16 the finals for the Bank of America Prairie Meadows Region will be held and feature the $60,000-added Prairie Meadows Regional Championship Challenge (GII) for older horses going 440 yards. On Friday, September 29 and Saturday, September 30, both open and Iowa-bred two and three-year-olds will compete to qualify for the finals of their respective divisions.
The live racing season will end with the Quarter Horse Championships on Saturday, October 14. The Quarter Horse Championships will feature four open stakes races and four Iowa-bred stakes races with combined purses worth an estimated $800,000. The marquee races include The Valley Junction Futurity ($225,000 est.), Jim Bader Futurity (IA) ($175,000 est.), and the final graded stake of the season for older horses the $45,000-added Two Rivers Stakes (GIII) going 440 yards.