Prairie Meadows Introduces All-New Racing Club, Kelly Von Hemel to Train

Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack, & Hotel returns this racing season with an exciting behind-the-scenes look at Thoroughbred ownership. The property is introducing the all-new Prairie Meadows Racing Club I (“Club”). The Club provides its members a low risk pathway to becoming a racehorse owner.

The Club is a low-cost, social and educational glimpse into the life of Thoroughbred ownership. It offers an exclusive experience with many benefits including special club events, viewings of the horse’s workout sessions, priority valet parking, special accommodations on race days, a dedicated Facebook page with frequent updates, and more.

The Club gives 200 people a chance to be a part of this thrilling experience with Prairie Meadows’ Hall of Fame trainer, Kelly Von Hemel. A one-time membership fee of $300 is required and will be available for purchase at or Prairie Meadows Gift Shop beginning at 10am on February 24. The membership fee is used to purchase the horse and cover training costs and expenses associated with the care of the horse. Von Hemel will select and train the Club’s horse.

“Racing has always been a huge part of my life, and I am very excited to share my knowledge and experience with the Club’s members. I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of Prairie Meadows Racing Club, and cannot wait to give our members a firsthand look at thoroughbred ownership,” said Von Hemel.

Von Hemel comes from a family of veteran Thoroughbred trainers, highly respected throughout the nation’s racing industry. Von Hemel took out his first trainer’s license in 1985 and worked as his father’s assistant until going out on his own in 1990. Von Hemel served on the Iowa Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) Board of Directors from 2002 – 2011. He was re-elected in 2014, and is currently serving on the board.

Nearly half of Von Hemel’s 1,390 career wins occurred at Prairie Meadows. He reached his 1,000th career win milestone at Prairie Meadows in 2007. Von Hemel conditioned Prairie Meadows’ Racing Hall of Famer, Sure Shot Biscuit, a 13-time stakes winner and the first Iowa-bred to reach $1 million in career earnings. His other notable horses include Miss Macy Sue, Semaphore Man, Irish Party, Maya’s Storm, and many more.

The Club has been organized as a 501(c)(7) not-for-profit social club. Members should not join with any profit motive or expectation of profit. After payment of all horse-related expenses and other club costs, all purse earnings or proceeds from the sale of the horse may be distributed to the members but will not exceed their membership fee. The remainder will be donated to a local charity. Trainer Kelly Von Hemel will make all decisions regarding the club’s horse. John Hernandez, Prairie Meadows’ Horsemen’s Liaison will serve as the Club’s Director.

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