A Guide To Prairie Meadows Racetrack

Prairie Meadows Racetrack is a premier destination for horse racing enthusiasts in Altoona, Iowa. The racetrack is located just off of I-80 and is easily accessible from Des Moines, making it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

With a rich history dating back to 1989, Prairie Meadows has become a staple in the Midwest for horse racing and entertainment. The track is home to both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing, and offers a variety of wagering options for fans.

For those who enjoy gaming, Prairie Meadows also features a large casino with over 85,000 square feet of gaming space. Whether you prefer slots or table games, there is something for everyone at Prairie Meadows.

History of Prairie Meadows Racetrack

Origins of the Racetrack

Prairie Meadows Racetrack, located in Altoona, Iowa, opened its doors on March 1, 1989, and has since become a staple in the Iowa horse racing community. The track was built after Governor Terry Branstad supported a gambling bill in 1983 that allowed betting on horse and dog races.

Despite a sellout crowd of over 7,100 eager to wager on Iowa’s first horse races, Prairie Meadows faced economic challenges in the early 1990s and filed for bankruptcy in November 1991. Live racing was suspended for the 1992 season before revenues from off-track betting allowed racing to resume the following year.

Significant Events in Prairie Meadows History

Over the years, Prairie Meadows has seen its fair share of highs and lows. One of the most significant events in the track’s history was the opening of a casino in 1995, which brought in a new stream of revenue and helped the track become profitable.

In 2004, Prairie Meadows underwent a major renovation, which included the addition of a hotel, conference center, and a new grandstand. The renovation was completed in 2006 and helped cement Prairie Meadows as one of the premier horse racing and entertainment destinations in the Midwest.

In recent years, Prairie Meadows has continued to thrive, hosting numerous high-profile horse races and events, including the Iowa Derby and the Iowa Festival of Racing. The track has also been a major supporter of the local community, donating millions of dollars to various charitable organizations over the years.

Overall, Prairie Meadows Racetrack has a rich history and continues to be a beloved institution in the Iowa horse racing community.

Racing at Prairie Meadows

Prairie Meadows is a popular racetrack located in Altoona, Iowa that attracts visitors from all over the country. The racetrack offers a variety of races throughout the year, including thoroughbred, quarter horse, and harness racing. Whether you’re a seasoned horse racing fan or a newcomer, Prairie Meadows is the perfect place to experience the excitement of live horse racing.

Types of Races Held at Prairie Meadows

Prairie Meadows hosts a variety of races throughout the year, including:

  • Thoroughbred racing
  • Quarter horse racing
  • Harness racing

Thoroughbred racing is the most popular type of racing at Prairie Meadows. These races are run on a one-mile dirt track and can range in distance from 5 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. Quarter horse racing is another popular type of racing at Prairie Meadows. These races are run on a shorter track and typically cover distances of 220, 330, or 440 yards. Harness racing, which involves horses pulling a driver in a two-wheeled cart, is also held at Prairie Meadows.

Famous Horses and Jockeys at Prairie Meadows

Over the years, Prairie Meadows has seen its fair share of famous horses and jockeys. Some of the most notable include:

Horse Jockey
American Pharoah Victor Espinoza
Smarty Jones Stewart Elliott
Curlin Robbie Albarado

Victor Espinoza, who rode American Pharoah to victory in the 2015 Triple Crown, is one of the most famous jockeys to have raced at Prairie Meadows. Other notable jockeys include Gary Stevens, Pat Day, and Jerry Bailey.

Betting at Prairie Meadows

How to Place a Bet at Prairie Meadows

Prairie Meadows is a popular destination for sports betting enthusiasts in the Midwest. Whether you are a seasoned bettor or a novice, there are plenty of options available to suit your needs.

Here’s how to place a bet at Prairie Meadows:

1. Choose a sport: Prairie Meadows offers a variety of sports to bet on, including horse racing, greyhound racing, and more. Choose the sport you want to bet on and familiarize yourself with the rules and terminology.

2. Choose a betting type: Prairie Meadows offers a range of betting types, including straight bets, exotic bets, and more. Choose the type of bet you want to place and determine the amount you want to wager.

3. Place your bet: Once you have chosen your sport and betting type, it’s time to place your bet. You can place your bet at the Caesars Sportsbook at Prairie Meadows or online by downloading the Caesars Sportsbook app.

4. Collect your winnings: If your bet is a winner, you can collect your winnings at the Caesars Sportsbook at Prairie Meadows or online.

Overall, Prairie Meadows offers a variety of betting options for sports enthusiasts. Whether you prefer horse racing or greyhound racing, there is something for everyone. So, head on over to Prairie Meadows and try your luck at sports betting today!

Facilities at Prairie Meadows

Dining Options

Prairie Meadows offers a variety of dining options for visitors to choose from. Whether you are looking for a quick bite or a more formal dining experience, there is something for everyone. The Triple Crown Buffet offers an all-you-can-eat experience with a wide selection of dishes. The Champions Clubhouse is a more upscale option, featuring a menu of steak and seafood dishes. For a more casual dining experience, check out the Finish Line Deli or the Café at the Meadows.

Entertainment and Events

In addition to gaming, Prairie Meadows also offers a range of entertainment options. The Meadows Events Center is a popular venue for concerts and other live performances. The property also features a movie theater, bowling alley, and an arcade for visitors of all ages to enjoy. If you are looking for something more active, check out the fitness center or take a dip in the indoor pool.


For visitors looking to stay overnight, Prairie Meadows offers a variety of accommodations. The Prairie Meadows Hotel features over 160 rooms and suites, each equipped with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel also features a fitness center and indoor pool.

For visitors traveling with an RV, Prairie Meadows also offers an RV park with full hookups and access to all of the property’s amenities. Overall, Prairie Meadows offers a range of facilities to make your visit enjoyable and comfortable. Whether you are looking to dine, be entertained, or stay overnight, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Key Events at Prairie Meadows

Prairie Meadows Racetrack is known for hosting some of the most exciting events in the Midwest. From live horse racing to concerts, there is always something happening at Prairie Meadows. Here are some of the key events that you won’t want to miss:

  • Live Horse Racing: Prairie Meadows is home to some of the best horse racing in the country. With live racing from April through October, you can experience the thrill of the track firsthand. Check the event calendar for upcoming races and promotions.
  • Concerts: Prairie Meadows hosts a variety of concerts throughout the year, featuring both local and national acts. From country to rock, there is something for everyone. Check the event calendar for upcoming concerts and ticket information.
  • Sports Viewing Parties: Whether it’s football, basketball, or baseball, Prairie Meadows is the perfect place to catch the big game. With multiple viewing areas and plenty of food and drink options, you can cheer on your favorite team in style.
  • Festivals and Fairs: Prairie Meadows is also home to a variety of festivals and fairs throughout the year. From the Iowa State Fair to the Latino Heritage Festival, there is always something to celebrate at Prairie Meadows.

Overall, Prairie Meadows is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for entertainment in the Midwest. With a packed calendar of events and plenty of gaming options, there is something for everyone at this premier racetrack and casino.

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