Allen Poindexter’s Kauai winning last fall’s Iowa Derby under Ramon Vazquez at Prairie Meadows. (Photo by Coady Photography)

With Prairie Meadows opening for horse racing Friday, the Iowa HBPA is offering two programs to help out its members feeling the economic squeeze from COVID-19 shutdowns.

Trainers can apply to receive up to $100 per Thoroughbred racehorse stabled at Prairie Meadows under the COVID-19 Horsemen’s Assistance Program. The deadline to apply is 3 p.m. CT June 30.

In addition, the Iowa HBPA created the COVID-19 Dorm Room Assistance Program to help trainers cover expenses incurred during the pandemic while moving their operation to Prairie Meadows. Thoroughbred trainers may receive a loan of up to $300 per dorm room for their stable employees. Recipients agree to repay the money to the Iowa HBPA by Dec. 15, 2020.

“It boils down to free money and an interest-free loan,” said Iowa HBPA president Dave McShane. “We encourage all our thoroughbred horsemen to apply for these programs. I don’t know a trainer who can’t use an extra $100 per horse, especially as a bridge until we’re able to get into a stretch of unimpeded racing.”

Program applicants must be members of the Iowa Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which represents thoroughbred owners and trainers racing in the Hawkeye State.

“Trainers incur considerable expenses every time they ship to the next town,” said Iowa HBPA executive director Jon Moss. “We are trying to help defray those costs, which have been exacerbated by the health and economic emergency. Given the difficult spring with many tracks shut down for long stretches, a lot horsemen don’t have on hand the extra hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars needed to secure dorm rooms for their grooms and hotwalkers. So we’re providing interest-free loans to assist with that up-front money needed to provide on-track housing for our horsemen’s employees.”

More information and application forms

Prairie Meadows’ Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse meet runs Friday through Oct. 11.