Iowa Festival Of Racing Approaching As Prairie Meadows Shifts To Mixed Meet Format

June 17, 2024 - Altoona, IA – The signature event of the live racing season at Prairie Meadows, the Iowa Festival of Racing, is less than one month away and the 2024 meet shifted to a mixed format beginning Sunday, June 16, 2024, until closing day Saturday, September 28, 2024.

“We are looking forward to a strong Iowa Festival of Racing this season,” said Racing Secretary Stuart Slagle. “As always, the Grade III $300,000-guaranteed Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap highlights the weekend, with our two three-year-old races: the $250,000 guaranteed Iowa Derby and the $225,000 guaranteed Iowa Oaks, also in the spotlight.”

Slagle said he anticipated Festival nominations from horsemen in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Texas as well as from stables currently based in Iowa.

“When you look at the list of Iowa Festival of Racing winners over thirty-plus years, you see a veritable ‘who’s who’ of horses, owners, trainers, and jockeys,” Slagle added. “Three years ago, Knicks Go came to Prairie Meadows and won the Cornhusker on his way to winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Iowa-bred star Ain’t Life Grand won the Iowa Derby in 2022 and Majesticperfection still holds the track record here for six furlongs off his amazing 1:07.24 winning time in the 2010 Iowa Sprint.”

In all, the Iowa Festival of Racing features eight stakes races run over two days. On Friday, July 5, the racing card includes the Prairie Gold Lassie (Black Type) for two-year-old fillies, the Saylorville (Black Type) for fillies and mares, the Iowa Sprint (Black Type), and the Iowa Distaff (Black Type) for fillies and mares. On Saturday, July 6, the evening includes the Prairie Gold Juvenile (Black Type) for two-year-olds, the Iowa Derby (Listed), the Iowa Oaks (Listed) for three-year-old fillies, and the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker (Grade III).

On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16, Prairie Meadows shifted into a mixed meet format for the remaining 60 racing days of the 2024 schedule through the final evening of the season, Iowa Classic Night, on Saturday, September 28, 2024.

“We’ve started strongly this season,” noted Slagle. “The field sizes are up through the first 18 days of the meet and so is the mutuel handle. We expect those trends to continue as we move into racing days that include both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds.”

The Quarter Horse stakes schedule includes four regional challenge races that feed into the 2024 AQHA Racing Challenge Championships at Albuquerque Downs on October 26, 2024.

On Friday, August 16, Prairie Meadows will hold the regional final for the Derby Challenge. On August 17, the track will card the regional final for the Juvenile Challenge. And on Sunday, August 18, Prairie Meadows will offer regional finals for the GIII Distaff Challenge and the GII Championship Challenge.

The 2024 live racing season at Prairie Meadows concludes September 28 with the traditional Iowa Classic Night program featuring eight Iowa-bred Thoroughbred stakes and four Iowa-bred Quarter Horse stakes.

Another fun-filled action-packed season of racing in Iowa is underway. To continue receiving information about Prairie Meadows 2024 live horse racing season, visit     

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