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New, faster surface debuts at What Cheer, Iowa
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - from the Iowa Harness Horsemen's Association

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What Cheer, IA --- Eighty-six horses from five states took to the track for the first race meet of the season in the Hawkeye state on Sunday, May 27. The anticipation of speed was on horsemen’s minds following the reconstruction of the track last fall under the direction of premier track consultant Dan Coon. Approximately 6,000 tons of material was placed on the track, improving the surface, banking and drainage.

“ It looks great, just super” veteran horsemen Craig Banks said. He made the five-hour trip from Cannon Falls, Minn. to compete on the new track.

The track appears to be about four seconds faster after the improvements. The fastest mile of the day, 1:59.1 by the 5-year-old Iowa-bred BeautyNHonor, was four seconds faster than the best time at the May 2011 meet. It was also the first sub-2:00 in May in Iowa.

“The track is not just faster, but safer for the horses too” Coon said.

The Iowa Harness Racing Association spent about $200,000 on track improvements at the state’s two primary fair tracks, What Cheer and Humboldt, after legislation mandating harness purses -- but ending racing at Prairie Meadows -- was enacted in 2011.

Harness purses in Iowa will total approximately $1.5 million over 37 racing days.

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