The Meadowlands has announced plans for the majority of the 2016 harness racing season. As previously announced, there will be no Thursday night racing this year; each week racing will be limited to Friday and Saturday nights, the exception being Hambletonian Day which will have its typical daytime card.
Racing begins January 6 and concludes August 6 which is the day of the Hambletonian. Unlike previous years, there will be no late closing series during January and February; dedicating the first two months to overnight racing. This lack of late closing series is a welcome relief as they have become unplayable events. The Meadowlands will card additional races on a nightly basis provided there is a demand at the entry box from trainers looking to get their horses raced in the winter.
There will be a short three week meet in September geared towards baby racing, two year olds who may not have been ready early enough to compete in the major stakes races but ready to begin strutting their stuff. A unique feature will be Friday night mixed meet racing with standardbreds on the main track and the runners on the turf course. Of course, the question is what will happen if it rains as this fall's thoroughbred turf meet has been subject to cancellations due to rain as in previous years. Unless the runners will run on the turf course when the turf is soft, Friday nights may result in brief racing cards.
Since the September meet is a mixed meet, it would be a good time to have a RUS series, assuming the hurdles presented by some who seek to block parimutuel racing under saddle under a standardbred permit. Hopefully hurdles may be overcome to allow such a series to take place.
As for the 2016 fall meet, a starting date has not yet been decided upon but it may start as early as October 21 to allow for warmer weather during the early part of the meet; in particular for the Breeders Crown.
Of course, the 2015 fall meet is just around the corner with an opening night of November 13 and a closing night of December 26 with the highlight of the fall meet falling on the weekend of November 20-21 as the TVG series finals and early closers such as the Valley Victory, Governors Cup, Goldsmith Maid, Three Diamonds, Tarport Hap and Continental Victory are set to be raced.