Sports Outside the Beltway

Board votes to discontinue harness racing at Prairie Meadows

The Iowa track is cutting back on all forms of horse racing. From the Des Moines Register-

Prairie Meadows’ board voted to adopt a new racing format for 2010 over the objections of thoroughbred owners, who said a shorter season would cripple horse breeding in Iowa.

The board voted 9-0 with three abstentions in favor of a 2010 season that would have a 56-day thoroughbred meet followed by a 30-day quarter horse season, and no harness racing.

This year, Prairie Meadows offers a 50-day thoroughbred season, a 32-day mixed thoroughbred-quarter horse meet and a 16-day harness meet.

Betting and horse breeding have decreased over a decade, and the thoroughbred meet has fought horse shortages and small fields. The track in 2008 paid $20million in purses while taking in $4.8 million in pari-mutuel betting revenue. Including other expenses, the total loss has been estimated between $23 million and $29 million.

These losses occurred despite the fact that Prairie Meadows being a casino in addition to its hosting horse races. This throws cold water on the beliefs of some horsemen that other forms of gambling can save racing industry.

If there are any Iowans among my readers, can one of you tell me if there are any other harness tracks still operating in your state? I seem to recall there being one in the Quad Cities area of the state.

Related Stories:
Recent Stories:

Comments are Closed


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.