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Handicapper's Corner

Prairie Meadows Kicks Off Season Friday Night

Prairie Meadows Kicks Off Season Friday Night

Prairie Meadows will kick off its 24th year of racing with a 66-day meet this Friday night. The Des Moines, Iowa oval will run four days a week with a 6:30 PM post time Thursday through Saturday and Sunday racing will commence at 1 PM.

Regular jockeys Terry Thompson and Alex Birzer should vie for top rider. Trainers Chris Richard, Chris Hartman and local horseman, Dick Clark will contend for leading trainer. Chip Woolley Jr., trainer of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, will also have a string of runners. Richard’s biggest client, Des Moines native Maggi Moss, will attempt to win her record-setting 11th owner's title.

The meet is highlighted by the Iowa Festival of Racing (June 28 & 29) with the Iowa Derby, Oaks, Distaff, Sprint and Cornhusker Handicap. Last year, Fort Larned defeated Successful Dan in the Cornhusker before victories in the Whitney Handicap and Breeders’ Cup Classic. Even the 2011 2-year-old champion, Hansen, made the trip north to take the Iowa Derby in blowout fashion.

Moss’s big horses, Delaunay and So Many Ways, have bigger goals in the immediate future, but she “would love to see both of them here for our big races. “ Delaunay is scheduled to make his next start on Derby day in the G2 Churchill Downs Handicap, and So Many Ways “might” make her next start in the G3 Eight Belles Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard.

For racing fans that do not follow the action at Prairie Meadows, it is a 1-mile dirt oval with no turf racing. The track most resembles Monmouth Park with sizzling summer temperatures and race times. Just like Monmouth Park, horses on the inside part of the track with early speed dominate most days.

Another plus for fans of racing in the Hawkeye state are the low takeouts. Prairie Meadows offers a 50-cent pick 5, 2 50-cent pick fours with a low 15-percent takeout on every card and is still one of the only states where the minimum show payoff is $2.20, making it a popular track for “bridge jumpers.”

Though Prairie Meadows is a racino with slot machines, table games and a poker room, it is quite fan friendly that is welcoming to families. The paddock area provides up close views as horses get saddled and the track apron has a plethora of tables, food vendors and a spacious play area for children making it a great location to bring the family for an entertaining evening of high-quality racing. 

 

What the Nation is saying about Prairie Meadows Kicks Off Season Friday Night...

I look forward to being there for the Festival of Racing ... Will I see you there, Jasen?
Larer fields insure bigger payouts. This Oaklawn, Canterbury, Woodbine, Evangeline and Tampa all have this wonderful thing in common.
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Meet Jasen Mangrum

My interest in the Sport of Kings goes back over 25 years with my father taking me with his friends to the old Ak-Sar-Ben Race Course in Omaha, NE.  From those early experiences I was able to read the Daily Racing Form before the age of 10.  Once The Woodlands opened in Kansas City in 1988, I became totally hooked on the sport studying racing charts after homework and tennis practice.  In recent years, with the explosion of handicapping tournaments, my love for handicapping the races has risen to a new level.  Primarily focused on New York, Chicago and Louisiana racing, I have now been forced to study races far and wide in attempt to find “cap horses” in the tournaments I play.  I have also dabbled in horse ownership within syndicates and on my own.

 

My fondest memories in racing include Silver Charm’s 1997 Kentucky Derby victory.  Both my father and I selected him, which made for a memorable day.  The best race I’ve seen was Tiznow’s first Breeders Cup Classic win in 2000 when he outdueled Giant’s Causeway down the length of the Churchill Downs stretch.   My biggest windfall as a gambler was a pool-scooping pick-4 win, paying over $6,600 at The Woodlands in 2005.

 

The point of this blog is to get everyone out there a few winners, but also to go in depth at how I come to the conclusions that I do.  From week to week, I’ll explain angles I think are important to locate winners.  I encourage others to post picks they like too, but please explain how you come to your conclusions.  That way everyone can learn a little more about this great game, and add another weapon to their handicapping arsenal.-Best of luck, Jasen Mangrum