10/15/2011 1:25PM

Portland Meadows: Racing dates may change in 2012

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Portland Meadows opens its 55-day season Monday with a mixed nine-race program that features two races for Quarter Horses and seven for Thoroughbreds.

The forthcoming season, which runs until mid-March, may be the last of its kind.

Track general manager Will Alempijevic said on Friday that Portland Meadows will shift to a July through November schedule, beginning next year, pending approval from the Oregon Racing Commission. As a result, the track will have about four months off between meetings.

“We’ve talked to the racing commission about it and I think there is excitement from all parties, including the horsemen,” Alempijevic said. “While we can race in the winter when it’s not unbelievably cold, it’s not the best outdoor sporting event for the fan experience.”

For the upcoming meeting, racing will be held on Mondays through Wednesdays through December, and on a Monday and Wednesday basis from January through closing day, March 14. There is one exception to that format – there will be racing on Sunday, Dec. 11 for Oregon Champions Day and no racing on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

The Oregon Champions Day program will feature five stakes for statebreds, ranging in purses from $10,000 to $15,000. The Portland Meadows Mile will not be run during the forthcoming meeting, but will be scheduled as part of the July through November meeting in 2012, Alempijevic said.

Friday, Alempijevic said that an emphasis has been placed on overnight purses for the upcoming meeting at the expense of some stakes purses to support owners and trainers who race at Portland Meadows throughout the season.