The Illinois Racing Board issued 2012 racing dates on Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 27), and the harness racing schedule includes a six-day a week schedule instead of the five programs a week that have alternated between Balmoral Park and Maywood Park this year.
Balmoral Park will be open year-round beginning on Jan. 1 and race a total of 207 live programs, with racing Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Maywood Park will race two nights per week, Thursdays and Fridays, from Jan. 5 through Dec. 28.
The biggest issue at the Racing Board dates meeting was the application by Arlington Park to have Hawthorne Race Course's spring Thoroughbred meet rejected so Arlington could earn the dark "host" simulcating money generated from late February through April. The Racing Board rejected Arlington's request, but did split up six "host" dates between the two tracks, giving each three.
Illinois Thoroughbred horsemen supported Hawthorne's request for a live spring meet from Feb. 28 through April 30, which traditionally has featured the Illinois Derby and Illinois Champions Day.
After a Sept. 16 dates hearing, Hawthorne president Tim Carey called Arlington's request "another attempt to eliminate competition in the market. And, in the process, jobs at the track and on the backstretch would be eliminated."--harnessracing.com