US Racing Track Guide: Prairie Meadows

Betfair now offers Exchange markets on a whole host of tracks in the United States. In his latest in-depth guide, US racing handicapper Dean Keppler takes a look at Prairie Meadows...

What kind of racecourse is it?

• The main dirt track is a one mile dirt oval with a six-furlong and 1 ¼-mile chute. The track also features a chute specifically for Quarter horseracing.

Tell me something I don't know about this track

• Prairie Meadows, located in Altoona, Iowa, opened its doors for racing in 1989. Six years later, it became the first combination race track and slot machine casino operation in the US.

When do they race?

(Thoroughbred) Mainly Thursday through Sunday afternoons April Through August - starting at 23:30 p.m. GMT on Friday. 7:00 p.m. GMT on Saturday and Sundays. (Quarter Horses) Mainly Friday through Sunday August Through October--starting at 7:00 p.m. GMT.

Best Ever Race

Grade 3 Iowa Derby July 1, 2016. The three-year-old American Freedom added a first graded stakes victory to his growing resume with an emphatic 4 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on Friday July 1. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano for trainer Bob Baffert, the sophomore son of Pulpit covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.62 over the fast main track. It was trainer Bob Baffert's record-holding fourth win in the race since its inception. The Iowa Derby is a Grade 2 event designated just for three-year-olds at a distance of 1 1/16 miles with a purse of $250,000.

Most Popular Jockeys

Alex, Birzer
Vazquez, Ramon A.
Laviolette, Shane
Most Popular Trainers
Broberg, Karl
Von Hemel, Kelly R.
Chleborad, Lynn

How to find winners at Prairie Meadows....

Like so many other spring and summer mini-Thoroughbred meets, there's a strong jockey/trainer colony that win most of the races year after year. Trainer Karl Broberg has one of the most successful training operations in the country and has been winning races in bunches throughout the South and Midwest. His parade of winners have found their way to Prairie Meadows during the spring and summer months. The bread and butter of his outfit is with recent barn purchases. He clicks at 30% with first off the Claim runners, and 24% with second off the Claims at Prairie. His go-to jockey is Sasha Risenhoover.

Draw Positions

Post 1, the inside draws, and the rail are best at the 5 ½-furlong sprint distance while the middle or outside posts are strong at six-furlongs. In 1-Mile events, the outside posts do best. At the 1 Mile 70 yard distance, the rail and inside draws are strongest.

Running Styles

Speed or "stalker" pressing tactical early foot is extremely effective in both sprint and route races at Prairie Meadows. In 5 1/2-furlong events there are over 40% of wire-to-wire winners, and over 35% at the 6-furlong trip. Pressers and closers fare much better in route races of one mile and 1 mile 70 yards, but approximately 25% of the races are still won by frontrunners.

When betting Prairie Meadows look out for... speed-types going 5 ½ to six-furlongs; the jockey/trainer combo of Karl Broberg and Sasha Risenhoover. Trainer Lynn Chleborad and jockey Alex Birzar click over 20% with all their combined mounts the past four years.