Prairie Meadows Marks Return of Midwest Horse Racing

By | May 12, 2022

Arlington Park is now closed. Prairie Meadows and Canterbury Park now represent the top tier of Midwest racing. The former kicks off this Friday.

Iowa Insights


Located in Altoona, Iowa Prairie Meadows is widely considered a mid-tier track. Horses that ship in from bigger circuits like Churchill Downs or Gulfstream Park tend to see significant class relief.

Comparable tracks in the region include Canterbury Park, Horseshoe Indianapolis, and Remington Park.

It is also common to see runners ship in from other midwest tracks like Fonner Park, Will Rogers Downs, and Lone Star Park.

Run Style

Tracks are subject to change from season to season but generally speaking Prairie Meadows tends to fit the traditional dirt racing profile. Early speed is typically advantage while horses coming from off the pace have more work to do.

There is no turf racing at Prairie Meadows.

Top Connections

In 2021 a quintet of jockeys eclipsed 40 wins. Alex Birzer finished well clear of the rest with 107 victories and a win percentage of 24%. He was followed by Elvin Gonzalez (86 wins), Kevin Roman (50 wins), Ken S. Tohill (45 wins), and Walter De La Cruz (45 wins).

In the trainer standings there were 4 conditioners that won at least 20% of their starts. Lynn Chleborad had 59 wins on 258 starts (23% win percentage) to earn the trainer title. Three other trainers Jon G. Arnett (25%), Karl Broberg (23%), Kelly R. Von Hemel (26%) were all over 20% to the winners circle and started no fewer than 120 runners.

Opening Night Full Card Analysis

Prairie Meadows Race Course Race 1

Post: 6:00 PM CT; Purse: $19,263 Maiden Claiming, 5 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 7

  • #4 COLD AS YOU (2-1) looks really tough to beat here on paper. These are maiden claimers, but you have to get fairly creative to get passed this one.
  • #5 SHAITAAN (7-2) could be the fresh face this group of horses needs.
  • #2 OUR CLOVER GAL (3-1) will be forward and against losers that’s a great spot to be.
  • #3 DONNA’S HOPE (15-1) looks really light on figures but is allowed to take a step forward to be competitive here.

Selections: 4-5-2-3

Prairie Meadows Race Course Race 2

Post: 6:27 PM CT; Purse: $15,800 Claiming, 5 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 7

  • #2 CATALOGUE (5-1) has the best speed figures in the group and should be forward early in the race. This one seems like a gift at 5-1.
  • #7 TOP BRASS (2-1) is in great form and has the top Brisnet power rating which can be a vital asset in these claiming races.
  • #1 UNCLE CHAD (15-1)has been running against tougher so maybe a little class relief wakes this one up.
  • #5 COWORKER (15-1) is an even running type that could benefit if others don’t show up. This one is a tepid 4th choice.

Selections: 2-7-1-5

Prairie Meadows Race Course Race 3

Post: 6:54 PM CT; Purse: $17,900 Starter Optional Claiming, 5 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 6

  • #5 HERITAGE PARK (3-1) is best of speed, best of class, and looks to get the best run of the race. If this one avoids favoritism I may be digging in my pocket for all my loose change at the windows.
  • #1 ABOUT OUR TIME (6-1) is a player given the record at the distance.
  • #4 MR. ANKENY (8-5) is definitely competitive but falls just short of the 5 in a lot of categories.
  • #2 KING DEUCE (12-1) could be spicy in some underneath plays.

Selections: 5-1-4-2 (Best Bet: #5 HERITAGE PARK)

Prairie Meadows Race Course Race 4

Post: 7:21 PM CT; Purse: $43,243 Allowance, 5 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 7

  • #4 EBONY PEARL (9-5) looks formidable on paper. This one will likely be on or near the lead and has the best speed figures in the group.
  • #5 RAISIN RAISIN (4-1) is a classy runner from a good barn.
  • #1 ANGEL’S MELODY (10-1) could get the right kind of trip in today’s race.
  • #7 TAPTHATLUCK (3-1) could be competitive given the stamina. As strange as it sounds, sometimes that can be a major factor in these super short sprints as horses are gassed late from the demands of an early blitz.

Selections: 4-5-1-7

Prairie Meadows Race Course Race 5

Post: 7:48 PM CT; Purse: $43,243 Allowance, 5 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 7

  • #7 BLAZE AWAY N HIDE (8-5) gets the top pick based on speed figures and projected race flow.
  • #1 CLASSY AND FAST (15-1) should be dangerous on the front end. The 1 hole almost assures that this one is flying early.
  • #3 A BUNCH FOR LUNCH (20-1) has speed figures to be competitive with the 2nd tier of this field
  • #6 READY TO GET LOUD (6-1) could be competitive given the connections.

Selections: 7-1-3-6

Prairie Meadows Race Course Race 6

Post: 8:15 PM CT; Purse: $32,000 Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 8

  • #6 INVARIABLY (9-5) has foundation with the top speed figures in the group. Couple that with the best breeding of the lot and you should be looking at an easy winner here.
  • #7 ROME (9-2) is another with experience who figures to be prominent early.
  • #3 R SERENGETI (12-1) has a chance based on the connections.
  • #5 OH LITTLE BRUTHA (10-1) is a fresh face here in a race where I only really like the #6 and #7 with experience.

Selections: 6-7-3-5

Prairie Meadows Race Course Race 7

Post: 8:42 PM CT; Purse: $50,000 Goldfinch S., 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 8

The first stakes race of the season is the Goldfinch Stakes and features a shipper from one of the top tracks in the country.

Muted ships in from Gulfstream to favoritism in the feature at Prairie Meadows.
Muted at Gulfstream Park. Photo Credit: Blood Horse
  • #4 MUTED (8-5) comes in from Gulfstream Park. This is a step down from the company faced out there. The horses was 2 for 3 in Hallandale Beach and the only loss was a close 2nd place finish in an allowance optional claiming event.
  • #2 SPEEDOMETER (3-1) really likes the 6 furlong distance and has the top in the money percentage at these conditions.
  • #3 DEMIDANU (8-1) goes out for solid connections and should be close enough to the speed to be dangerous.
  • #8 MISS HARD KNOCKS (9-2) should still have plenty in the tank in the final stages of this race.

Selections: 4-2-3-8

Prairie Meadows Race Course Race 8

Post: 9:09 PM CT; Purse: $10,500 Claiming, 1 Mile on Dirt; Entries: 9

  • #8 HE’S A SUITOR (2-1) looks to be the speed and class of this field. It will take a lot to get by this one.
  • #5 ALWAYS A CATCH (3-1) may be looking at an ideal race setup in this spot.
  • #4 MIGHTY GHOST (3.5-1) is trained by Jon G. Arnett who looks to build off of last year’s success.
  • #7 ROCK CITY ROADHOG (10-1) is a pace play and could be among the leaders if not in front in the early stages.

Selections: 8-5-4-7

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