The Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway have announced their 2012 racing calendar with the Meadowlands requesting the same 81 days it raced in 2011 and Freehold asking for 90 days, down from the 112 days it is racing this year. With the new legislation this year, the NJRC primarily approves the dates the tracks give them as the tracks are being given discretion as when to run.
The Meadowlands 2012 meet opens on Friday, January 5 and will race three days a week (Thur-Sat) through the second week of March. From March 16 through April 21 plans are to race Friday and Saturday nights. After a one week hiatus, from May 4 through June 23, the Meadowlands will continue with their two night a week schedule after which the Meadowlands will race three nights a week through the Hambletonian. After the Hambo, the Meadowlands will race two days for the last two weekends. Sunday afternoon racing is off the schedule for 2012. Of course, if there can be some kind of accommodation made with Chester Downs, expect this schedule to be altered.
Horsemen who race at Freehold will be suffering during the early winter months as Freehold will not open until March where they will race Thursday-Saturday through May and then be closed for their traditional summer break, opening up on August 30 for a three day a week schedule through December 22.
It's not for me to say what is a good schedule versus a bad schedule but were I scheduling the Freehold meet, I would be racing January through March in the winter/spring instead of March through May. This way, they would be racing when less harness tracks are open, providing for a larger horse population and less competition for simulcast dollars.
As of now, Monmouth Park has not made any announcement with regards to proposed race dates, likely dependent on what, if any, plans there will be to hold thoroughbred racing of some type at the Meadowlands next year. Unless something dramatic happens, expect Atlantic City Race Course to offer their six days of turf racing in April of next year.