Steve Asmussen, who won the Eclipse Award as America's champion trainer in 2008 and 2009, is among the new additions to Prairie Meadows' stable roster in 2012.
The track's 67-day thoroughbred season opens at 6:30 p.m. Friday and runs through Aug. 11.
Asmussen trained three straight Horse of the years in Curlin in 2007-08 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009. He has led the nation in wins for the past five years, setting a record with 622 wins in 2008 and breaking that with 650 wins in 2009.
Asmussen has more than 200 horses in training and will stable nine at Prairie Meadows. He has frequently sent horses to Prairie Meadows, winning 22 stakes races, but this is the first time he will compete in Iowa on a daily basis.
“A guy like that is a game-changer,” said first-year racing secretary Fred Hutton. “He elevates the game that much higher.”
Asmussen is just one of several new stables at Prairie Meadows this season. Donnie K. Von Hemel, Gennadi Dorochenko, and Jim DiVito will also have part of their stables at the Altoona track.
Von Hemel trains Caleb's Posse, a finalist for the champion 3-year-old male of 2011. He has been a frequent visitor to Prairie Meadows, winning 26 stakes, and will be the third family member on hand, joining father Don and brother Kelly.
DiVito trained three-time Iowa Sprint winner Coach Jimi Lee.
Dorochenko, who will have 26 horses at Prairie Meadows, stunned the racing world when Hero of Order won the April 1 Louisiana Derby at odds of 109-1. His 3-year-olds also include California Derby winner Russian Greek, and the filly Milania, fourth in Sunday's Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland.
New trainers also include Richard Jackson, who will have 26 stalls, J.R. Caldwell, John Haran, and Michael Biehler.
“Any time you get those kind of quality horsemen in your barn area, it's a good thing,” Hutton said. “It'll help our top-tiers (of horses) and that's what we're looking for.”
Prairie Meadows will have a new racing week and a new way to wager in 2012.
Signups opened Monday for Iowans to register for account deposit wagering at www.tvg,com. It allows Iowa residents to wager on races at Prairie Meadows and elsewhere by computer or phone.
Prairie Meadows will offer Friday through Sunday racing this week and add Thursdays starting on April 26. It is the first time Prairie Meadows has raced Thursday through Sunday since 1996. In recent years, the racing week was Monday-Tuesday-Friday-Saturday.
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