Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino has announced an average daily purse structure of about $220,000 during the 67-day Thoroughbred meet from April 18-Aug. 9.
Maiden special weight purses will be $30,000 for open contenders and $38,730 for state-bred contenders. The top-level, open allowance purses will be $40,000 and Iowa-bred purses will be $51,640.
"Our racing staff evaluated the purse structures at other tracks around the Midwest region," said Derron Heldt, director of racing at the Altoona, Iowa, track. "We tried to structure this year's purses to be competitive in all categories with those across the region."
Thoroughbreds will race on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. (all times Central Standard Time) and Sundays at 1 p.m.
Thirty-three stakes worth more than $3 million will be featured during the meet. Prairie Meadows' live card will begin early on the three Saturdays comprising the Triple Crown series, in addition to Memorial Day, July 3, and July 4. The Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap, Iowa Derby, and Iowa Oaks, all grade III events, headline the Iowa Festival of Racing, June 27-28, which offers six stakes in all and combined purses worth more than $1 million. Iowa Classic Night on Aug. 2 will feature purses worth $550,000, distributed across seven stakes for Iowa-breds.
Pat Pope, the racing secretary at Prairie Meadows from 1997-2002, has returned to that position for the Thoroughbred meet this year.
"We always look forward to each new year to showcase some of the finest racing in the Midwest," said Heldt, Prairie Meadows' director of racing. "We are putting much thought again this year into the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meets, and we are excited to see how things will evolve."