Wrangler Racing Aces Blog

Prairie Meadows opens Saturday.

Prairie Meadows opens Saturday.

Off and Running Saturday in Iowa
By Martha Claussen

Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, will kick off its 2017 live Quarter Horse racing season on Saturday, August 19.

The track’s annual Quarter Horse meet, which runs through October 14, will feature a solid stakes schedule highlighted by the $175,000-estimated Iowa Double Gold Futurity on September 2 and the $225,000-estimated Valley Junction Futurity on October 14.

Trainers to watch this meet at Prairie Meadows include defending champion conditioner Stacy Charette-Hill, Kasey Willis, Charley Hunt, Jason Olmstead, Verle Bohner, Manuel Campos, Julio Almanza and Edward Ross Hardy. 

Jorge Torres was the meet’s leading rider in 2016 and will return along with Stormy Smith, Berkley Packer, Oscar Delgado, James Flores, Josh Romero, David Pinion and Cody Smith.

Prairie Meadows will also host three regional Bank of America Challenge Championship races on Saturday, September 16, led by the 440-yard, $60,000-added Bank of America Prairie Meadows Championship Challenge.

All winners of these four races will earn berths in the October 14 Bank of America Challenge Championships, which returns to Prairie Meadows for the third time. In 2014, the regional qualifiers from the home track won three of the Championship events. AQHA Past President Jerry Windham’s homebred Stimulus was victorious in the Bank of America Challenge Championship; Daytona B, owned by Gregario Garza won the Adequan Derby Challenge and Michael Teel’s AJs High captured the John Deere Juvenile Challenge.

The date for the Prairie Meadows regional Challenge races is Saturday, September 16, so be sure to check out the competition that day, which will begin at 1 p.m. (CST).

"We look forward to a successful Quarter Horse meet and to hosting the Bank of America Challenge Championships again this year,” said Derron Heldt, Prairie Meadows director of racing. “Interest from horsemen has been strong and the draw for our season opener went very well."

Post times for the meet are Fridays at 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday matinees which begin at 1 p.m. For more information on special events and stakes, visit www.prairiemeadows.com.

Ferrari James Looks to Pick Up Where He Left Off
By Jonathan Horowitz

Ferrari James returns to Prairie Meadows where he is a perfect 5-for-5 in the Altoona, Iowa, track’s first stakes race on opening day of its 2017 Quarter Horse meet. The $45,000 Keokuk Stakes (G3) over 400 yards will kick off 21 stakes races at Prairie Meadows worth an estimated total of $2.3 million and culminate with the track’s hosting the 2017 Bank of America Challenge Championships on closing night.

Ferrari James also raced on opening day of the 2016 Prairie Meadows meet, winning a trial to the Iowa Double Gold Derby. The bay gelding then won the $84,000 finals. On last season’s final day, Ferrari James defeated Keokuk rival Divas Candy Girl by a neck in the $108,000 Altoona Derby.

However, Ferrari James, who will be ridden by Oscar Delgado for trainer Kirt Clark, enters the new Prairie Meadows season on a three-race losing streak in 2017. He was recently second to Keokuk entrant Bye Byefreighttrain in an optional claiming race at Canterbury Park on July 28. Bye Byefreighttrain won the 2015 Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Futurity at Will Rogers Downs.

While Ferrari James has a knack for getting to the winner’s circle in stakes races at Prairie Meadows, Bye Bye Birdy has just missed out in her two stakes attempts in Iowa. The 5-year-old sorrel mare, who will be piloted by James Flores for trainer Larry Sharp, was runner-up in the both the 2015 Adequan Prairie Meadows Derby Challenge and 2016 Merial Prairie Meadows Distaff Challenge.

As the Bank of America Challenge Championships prepare to return to Iowa for the first time since 2014, Im Beau Brown returns to Prairie Meadows for the first time since winning the $75,000 Zoetis Starter Allowance Challenge Championship at 26-1 odds in 2014.

Boogies Special Dash will be making his Prairie Meadows debut in the Keokuk. He was runner-up in the $1.2 million Rainbow Derby and qualified for the $2.4 million All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs in 2016.

The morning-line favorite in the full field is The Fiscal Cliff, a stakes winner at Prairie Meadows. However, The Fiscal Cliff is under investigation for a positive test for a prohibited drug in a stakes race at Remington Park this year. Such a disqualification makes him ineligible for consideration in AQHA polls or awards.

Wrangler Racing Ace Jonathan Horowitz’ Top Selections:

#4 Ferrari James
#9 Boogies Special Dash
#10 Bye Byefreighttrain

Wrangler Racing Aces in August
It is also opening weekend at Fair Grounds and Wrangler Racing Ace Martha Claussen will visit the New Orleans racetrack on Friday, August 18. She will offer analysis of the 10 trials for the $297,220 LQHBA Sale Futurity and will provide fan education materials and giveaway items, courtesy of AQHA.

Visit the @AQHARacing page on Facebook or follow the Aces on Twitter for timely updates on Quarter Horse racing across North America. The Wrangler Racing Aces are following the horses, jockeys, trainers and milestones at Los Alamitos, Ruidoso Downs, Fair Grounds, Prairie Meadows, The Downs at Albuquerque, Canterbury Park and Indiana Grand.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit www.aqharacing.com.