Dan Doocy Resigns As PrM Racing Secretary

Posted: August 23, 2011 in General

By Dan Johnson, Prairie Meadows Media Writer

Dan Doocy, Prairie Meadows’ thoroughbred racing secretary since 2003, has resigned his position effective Sept. 3.

Doocy said he felt worn down at the end of the 2011 thoroughbred meet, which ended on Aug. 13, and wants to take some time off to recharge his energy.

“It’s just time to move on to something else,” he said. “Prairie Meadows has been great to me. It’s a difficult job and not one you can do if you don’t have your heart into it 100 percent. They’ve been good to me and I’m not going to give them a half-hearted job.

“I haven’t had a summer or fall to myself in 30 years. I have plenty of friends around the country and family. I’ll visit some and kick back and relax, freshen up.”

The racing secretary is responsible for recruiting stables and determining what type of races will be offered each day. He or she sets conditions for races that will match the stock at the track. With a shortage of horses plaguing tracks all over the country, getting large field sizes that will draw large betting has become a challenge for racing secretaries at most tracks.

During his tenure, Prairie Meadows went from offering a thoroughbred meet followed by a mixed meet with quarter horses to having thoroughbred-only and quarter horse-only seasons.

Doocy helped form the Iowa Festival of Racing, which includes six of Prairie Meadows’ top stakes, into one weekend of racing. Both the Iowa Oaks and Iowa Derby have gone from ungraded to Grade III stakes.

“He did a very good job,” Director of Racing Derron Heldt said. “In his time here, the Oaks and Derby both became graded. He recruited well and got a lot of new trainers in here.”

Heldt said he hopes to hire a new racing secretary this fall.

Doocy said he has enjoyed his time at Prairie Meadows.

“The No. 1 thing I’m most proud of is the assembly of the crew that we have,” Doocy said. “I think we have a great, great racing office staff.

“The highlight was mainly working with the people I worked with. Gary (Palmer, general manager) and Ann (Atkin, vice president of operations) were great to me and Derron was super and the whole office has been great. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people.”

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