With the annual Florida meeting of the sport’s race secretaries in the books, the 2012 stakes schedule is beginning to take shape.
The Meadows’ Tom Leasure told harnessracing.com Thursday morning that the early schedule the track turned into the Pennsylvania State Racing Commission has the eliminations and final for the Adios for 3-year-old colt pacers moved from its traditional daytime slot to night-time cards in late July. And while things remain status quo at Woodbine/Mohawk, according to race secretary Scott McKelvie, the Meadowlands’ Peter Koch notes the calendar will have a much different look at the New Jersey racetrack.
Leasure said the Adios elims will be contested Saturday, July 21, with the final on Saturday, July 28. Leasure added that while it is virtually a certainty that the Adios elims will be raced at night, the program that features the final could revert back to an afternoon program after further discussion in the next few weeks.
“It’s very, very premature that the final will go at night, but right now it’s on the schedule,” said Leasure.
Leasure noted the Adios final will now go up against eliminations of the New Jersey Classic at the Meadowlands, which Koch said has been moved in order to have the final contested on the Aug. 4 Hambletonian day card. The race will take the slot of the Oliver Wendell Holmes, which is among several stakes that have been eliminated at the Big M.
Koch noted that besides the Holmes, other races off the 2010 schedule are the Perretti Matchmaker for older trotting mares, the Niatross for 2-year-old colt pacers, the Countess Adios for 2-year-old filly pacers, and the Tarport Hap for 3-year-old filly pacers.
Races moved to the Meadowlands in 2012 include the Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers and the Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters, both raced in 2011 at The Meadows and prior to that at The Red Mile. Also added to the calendar are the Simpson and the Reynolds for 2 years olds of both gaits and sexes, with the former moving from Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs and the latter from Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
“We’re also adding new races for 4-year-old mare pacers and 4-year-old mare trotters,” said Koch. “The Green With Envy for pacers will go on June 22 and 29 with the final on July 7, the night of the Meadowlands Pace elims. The Ima Lula for trotters will go on July 19 and 26 with the final on Aug. 3, the night before the Hambo. They’ll both go for $20,000, $20,000 and $60,000 finals.
Koch also noted last year’s Summer Survivor Series will be raced in 2012 beginning the last week of March, with this year’s contests for both 3-year-old pacers and trotters. Finals for both will be on April 21.
The Meadowlands Pace will be held Saturday, July 14, with the Hambletonian card on Saturday, Aug. 4.
As for the Woodbine/Mohawk circuit, McKelvie said the 2012 schedule will look virtually the same as 2011, except for some Ontario Sire Stakes races that haven’t been finalized. The North America Cup will be contested at Mohawk on Saturday, June 16, with elims on June 9. The 12-race Breeders Crown championship card will return to Woodbine on Saturday, Oct. 27.