Prairie Meadows Meet Approved

Iowa track to host 2012 Bank of America Challenge Championships.

January 12, 2012

Prairie Meadows

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has approved an extended Prairie Meadows Quarter Horse meet that will be capped by one of the sport’s biggest events, the Bank of America Challenge Championships on October 27.

The commission on Thursday unanimously approved a 27-day Quarter Horse meet that will run August 18 to October 27. It will be highlighted by a closing weekend that has Iowa Champions Night for Iowa-breds on Friday, October 26, and the Challenge Championships on Saturday, October 27.

The Challenge Championships, with six races worth more than $1 million combined, are quarter horse racing’s version of the Breeders' Cup for Thoroughbreds. Horses earn starting berths by winning regional qualifying races across the United States, as well as in Canada, Mexico, and Brazil.

The headline race is the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) for older horses, which has been won by world champions Down With Debt, SLM Big Daddy, Tailor Fit, and Streakin Sin Tacha.

"It puts us on a big stage, and one where we're ready to show what we do here in central Iowa," said Derron Heldt, Prairie Meadows' director of racing. "There'll be a lot of national and local recognition, and it's something we're excited about."

In addition, AQHA will have its four-day racing convention at Prairie Meadows during the Challenge week. That means Prairie Meadows will be the site of two national racing conventions in 2012 since the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association for Thoroughbreds will hold its conferences at Prairie Meadows from June 28-July 1.

Prairie Meadows' 2011 Quarter Horse meet ran from August 12 to October 1 with racing four days per week. The 2012 meet will offer a three-day race-week Friday through Sunday through October 13. There will be no racing the following week, then racing will resume with the closing weekend of stakes races on October 26-27.

Heldt said the Challenge Championships may help Prairie Meadows attract new stables for its entire Quarter Horse meet. Prairie Meadows is also one of the regional qualifying sites and its Challenge races will be on September 15.

"With the Challenge Championship here, it may allow us to attract some new trainers and owners that haven't been here in the past," Heldt said. "They may want to run over the track surface prior to the Championships."

The commission had previously approved Prairie Meadows’ 2012 Thoroughbred season, which will take place from April 20 to August 11 with a Thursday to Sunday racing week.