The Meadowlands is requesting 81 harness racing dates for 2012, the same number the track ran in 2011, while Freehold Raceway is expected to ask for 90 days, down from the 112 it is running this year.
The Meadowlands presently expects to open Friday, Jan. 5, 2012, and race three nights a week--Thursday, Friday and Saturday--through the second week of March. Track management is still entertaining the option of opening for one or two cards the last week in December, but such a request would fall under an amendment of 2011 dates. The rest of the requested 2012 schedule is as follows.
Beginning March 16, racing Friday and Saturday nights through April 21, then dark for one week; resume Friday, May 4, with live racing on Friday and Saturdays through June 23. The track returns to a three-card a week schedule--Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Hambletonian Day, then races Fridays and Saturdays the next two weekends (Aug. 10-11 and 17-18).
Under the proposed calendar, Freehold would be dark in January and February. A three-day a week schedule of Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays would be offered in March, April and May. Freehold would be dark in June, July and most of August, returning for a fall meet that starts on Aug. 30 and continues through Dec. 22, 2012. The only variations to the Thursday through Saturday schedule would be live racing offered on Labor Day [Sept. 3] and a dark day on Thanksgiving. (with files from SBOANJ)