Big Announcements from Prairie Meadows Racetrack

November 21, 2019 – Altoona, IA. The Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission has approved Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino’s 31st season of live horse racing. Prairie Meadows, Iowa HBPA. I.T.B.O.A and I.Q.H.R.A all worked together to create a new racing format which will begin on May 1, 2020. The season will consist of 84 days of live racing featuring Thoroughbred racing throughout the entire season of which, 62 days will feature a combination of both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing. This is a departure from the previous format, which featured separate breed race meets. The season will run from May 1 – September 26, 2020.

“We’re very excited for the 2020 meet,” said Prairie Meadows Vice President of Racing Derron Heldt. “This new calendar is a strong partnership between Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse organizations, and we believe the schedule plays to the strengths of both breeds. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the results of this new racing format in 2020.”

The first 22 days of the live racing season will focus on Thoroughbred only racing, with eight races scheduled for each race day. Beginning June 12, the Quarter Horses will be back on the track. The mixed race card will vary throughout the season.  June 12 – August 17 will feature 8 Thoroughbred races and 3 Quarter Horse races scheduled daily. Beginning August 21 through September 26 the daily scheduled race mix will be 6 Thoroughbred and 4 Quarter Horse races. The number of Quarter Horse races on certain days will be subject to change based on the number of trials needed.

“We’ll see significant improvement in horse racing for 2020 thanks to this change,” said Iowa Horseman’s Benevolent & Protective Association President Dave McShane. “Prairie Meadows has been extremely accommodating. There’s no doubt that this change is a collective win for horsemen and breeders, the state of Iowa, and Prairie Meadows. We’re thrilled to see the mixed meet plan move forward.”

Iowa Quarter Horse Racing Association President Tom Lepic shares both Heldt’s and McShane’s enthusiasm regarding the new format.

“What a great day for the horse racing industry in Iowa. Our new mixed meet format will tremendously increase the number of racing opportunities for each of our horses as well as enhance the entire breeding program in the state of Iowa,” Lepic said. “The mixed meet is a win-win for both breeds, and we look forward to working closely with the Thoroughbred community and Prairie Meadows.”

The 2020 live racing schedule will feature races on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses. Post times will be at 6:00 p.m. Post times are subject to change for special race days or events.

To continue to receive communication on our 2020 live racing season, please visit

About Prairie Meadows

Prairie Meadows began operations as a nonprofit organization in 1989 with the goal of promoting economic development, jobs, agriculture, and tourism in the state of Iowa. Through taxes, grants, and charitable donations, Prairie Meadows has given $1.8 billion to the state of Iowa. Prairie Meadows offers nearly 1,700 slot machines, table games, live and simulcast racing, sports wagering, hotel accommodations, entertainment, and more.


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