2016 PM_Racing
Racing Seasons/Promotions:

Thoroughbred Races


April 28 – August 13

Thursday and Friday Post Time: 5:30pm

Saturday and Sunday Post Time: 1:00pm

Racing through one or more turns on an oval track, Thoroughbred horses are bred to be the perfect union of speed and endurance.

Download a PDF of our full racing calendar.

Quarter Horse Races


August 20 – October 15

Friday Post Time: 5:30pm

Saturday and Sunday Post Time: 1:00pm

With their rapid acceleration over short distances, Quarter Horses are the world-class sprinters of the equine world.

Download a PDF of our full racing calendar.

NHC | Qualifying Tournament

National Qualifying Tournament | June 25 & 26

Register for your chance to win a seat at the National Handicapping Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas in January 2017.

Quick Facts:

  • Register for the tournament now through 11am on Saturday, June 25, 2016.
  • A live bank roll (buy-in) of $500 is required to participate in the tournament.
  • Registrations will be accepted at the Racing Center on Clubhouse Level 4 or by mail. Participants may mail their registrations with their name, address, phone number, email address and buy-in fee to: Prairie Meadows, Marketing Department, ATTN: Promotions, P.O. Box 1000 Altoona, IA, 50009
  • The top two participants at the completion of the tournament will win a seat at the NHC in Las Vegas in January 2017.

Please see tournament rules for full details.

Featured Racing Events:

Special Race Days & Events


Special Race Days & Events
June 30, July 1 & 2 | Festival of Racing
July 3 | Fireworks
July 4 | Independence Day | Post Time 1pm
July 17 | Camel, Zebra, & Ostrich Races | Post Time 1pm
August 10 | Post Time 5:30pm
August 13 | Iowa Classic

Register for the Iowa Classic Parade

Iowa Classic | August 13

Iowa Classic Parade


Come watch the Iowa Classic parade as it winds its way through the streets of Altoona.

For more information on registering for the parade, click here.

Iowa Classic Racing

7 BIG all-Iowa stakes races!

Post Time 1:00pm

Sounds of Summer

Sounds of Summer

This summer, we’re bringing our concerts outdoors. Now you will be able to experience spectacular live music outside on the track apron after the races are finished beginning around 5pm. All ages are welcome to enjoy our sounds of summer, and the best part is it’s all FREE.

Upcoming Shows
July 2 | American Country | Country
July 3 | The Dweebs | Variety
July 9 | JC Project | Classic Rock
July 23 | The Spazmatics | Variety
August 6 | Lost Highway | Country

5PM is an approximate time and may fluctuate to account for race completion.

Family Days at the Races

Family Days at the Races

Each event will feature different children’s activities such as spin art, balloon animals, Princess party appearances and more.

  • July 24
  • August 21
  • September 18
  • October 9

Race Sponsorships

Accordian Image

Race Sponsorships

Anyone can sponsor a race. Benefits include a race named in honor of your group or organization, a photo near the Winner’s Circle, recognition of your race in the program, your name on the in-field board, and a personal message read by our track announcer. You’ll also get six racing programs. These are a great way to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, corporate outings and other special occasions. To sign up, click here.

*Requests must be submitted at least one week before desired race sponsorship date.

Stable Area Tours

Stable Area Tours

Check out a behind the scenes tour of our racetrack! Learn about track conditions, jockeys, horses and more. Tours will be continuous beginning at 8am to 10am, lasting approximately 30 minutes, and will begin and end at the south entrance.

  • July 2
  • July 23
  • August 20
  • September 17

No reservations required. For more information, please call 515-967-8542.

*Ride portion of the tour is not handicap accessible, strollers are prohibited, children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult, and rides may be cancelled without notice.


Ones to Watch

Plan your weekend of simulcast race wagering with one of these major races from around the country.


Frequently Asked Questions

When does live horse racing season begin?

Our racetrack is open between April and October during the racing season.

Can I bring my child to the racetrack?

Children under 18 are welcome if accompanied by an adult. However, no one under the age of 21 is allowed to access the casino floor, located on Level 2.

How do you place a bet on a race?

Just follow these 5 easy steps:

  1. State the name of the track.
  2. Give the teller the number of the race you’re betting on.
  3. State the amount you wish to wager. ($2 is the minimum)
  4. Tell them the type of wager you’d like to make.
  5. Give them the number of the horse as listed in your program. Here’s an example: “Prairie Meadows, third race, two dollars, to win, on number five.”

Does Prairie Meadows charge for admission or parking?

Admission is free for all of our live horse racing events with both indoor and outdoor seating. Parking is also free and includes handicap spaces and valet parking—and for your convenience, a shuttle is accessible from the parking lot that will take you to the main entrance.

How do I pick a horse?

To keep it simple and easy, you may want to pick your favorite number or color, a name you like, or the horse you connect with. More advanced strategies include looking at things like bloodlines, past performances, and track conditions. The more times you wager, the more you’ll get to know these strategies.

I am interested in sponsoring a race. What does that include? How do I sponsor?

Anyone can pay to sponsor a race. Benefits include having your name/photo displayed on the Big Screen, your name in racing program, a personal message read by the track announcer, and your picture in the winner’s circle. These are a great way to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, corporate outings and other special occasions. To sign up, click here.

Where can I find information on race times?

You can view our racing calendar here for race days, post times, and special racing events occurring throughout the season here at Prairie Meadows!

What are the basic wagers you can make on a race?

A “Win” bet means you bet a horse to win, so you win if your horse finishes first. Making a “Place” bet means you win if your horse finishes first or second. When you bet a horse to “Show”, you win if your horse finishes first, second or third.

What days do the horses race?

Thoroughbreds race Thursday – Sunday and Quarter Horses race Friday – Sunday.

2016 Wagering Formats

What wagers are offered on live racing, and what are the takeouts and minimums?




Exacta20%$2.00 Straight/$1.00 Wheels/Boxes
Quinella20%$2.00 Straight/$2.00 Wheels/Boxes
Daily Double20%$2.00 Straight/$1.00 Wheels
Trifecta23%$2.00 Straight/$1.00 Wheels/Boxes
Pick 319%$2.00 Straight/$1.00 Wheels
Pick 415%$0.50 Straight/$1.00 Wheels
Superfecta20%$0.10 Straight/$0.10 Wheels/Boxes
Pick 515%$0.50 Straight/$0.50 Wheels
Pentafecta15%$0.50 Straight/$0.50 Wheels/Boxes

Racing Personnel

Racing Department Contact Information

Derron Heldt

Director of Racing
(515) 967-8508

Pat Pope

Thoroughbred Racing Secretary
(515) 967-1204

Chad Keller

Quarter Horse Racing Secretary
(515) 957-3027

Martha Miller

Racing Administrative Assistant
(515) 967-1205

Jack Coady

Track Photographer
(515) 967-1381

Lori Thornburg

Horsemen’s Bookkeeper
(515) 967-1298