Discussions Continue For Prairie Meadows 2020 Season
ALTOONA, IA—MAY 15, 2020—It was falsely reported that the Prairie Meadows Board of Directors voted unanimously on Thursday, May 14 that live racing would not take place this year. The 2020 Prairie Meadows racing season was originally scheduled to begin on May 4 with Quarter Horse racing added to the schedule on June 12. Live racing was to run four days a week through September 26.
The news came as a shock to the many horsemen looking to run in Iowa, however, discussions have continued and the outlook for a live race meet appears to be in the works.
Tom Lepic, president of the Iowa Quarter Horse Racing Association (IQHRA) and HPBA members had a very productive meeting at Prairie Meadows today. Under the guidelines enforced by Governor Kim Reynolds, each of the Iowa casinos are closed until May 27.
Once the Governor lifts the restriction, Prairie Meadows will begin the process of staffing (up to 1,000 employees) and opening their onsite casino in compliance with COVID-19 protocols set forth by the Governor’s office and the Iowa Department of Public Health.
At the same time, the process of planning for the live racing season will get underway. The first step will be opening the backside so that horsemen can ship in and begin training. Purses will have to be amended and the first condition book will have to be written and distributed. Live racing could begin sometime between June 15 and July 1.
"Obviously, one of the major steps ahead will be to revise our purse structure and stakes schedule as we will not meet our projected income," said Lepic. "We plan to meet with Deron Heldt, Prairie Meadows director of racing on Monday to discuss purses for 2020 and 2021."
Lepic, who has been a prominent Iowa owner and breeder for decades, wanted to make sure that horsemen were informed that live racing at Prairie Meadows is definitely moving forward.
"The mixed meet for 2020 at Prairie Meadows will be very entertaining for racing fans and offer opportunities for our Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses," he said. "After our meeting today, we feel confident that we are on the right path and appreciate the efforts of the Prairie Meadows board of directors in bringing this to fruition."