(Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

The Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (MTHA) reached an agreement in principal Saturday to apply and race 146 days at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in 2012.

“I am glad we got this resolved,” said Richard Hoffberger, MTHA president. “This means running the same amount of live days as this year which was important to the horsemen to maintain a year-round program.”

The parties will continue to meet on a regular basis on developing a long-term plan for thoroughbred racing in the state with a goal of a proposal in place by July 1, 2012.

“The Maryland Jockey Club is pleased that the parties have come together for the betterment of the industry,” said MJC president Tom Chuckas. “And our management team looks forward to working with the other industry participants in creating a long-term plan for sustainability in Maryland.”

The agreement reached needs to be ratified by the MTHA board. The parties will then take the agreement to the Maryland Racing Commission on Tuesday, December 20 for final approval.

“What we are looking for is a sustainable business model for the future,” said Maryland Racing Commissioner John McDaniel, who along with commissioner Bruce Quade has been part of the process. “The Maryland Racing Commission will actively spearhead the process and we are looking forward to working with the parties with frequent meetings. We are also working with the Governor’s office, and his emissary Joe Bryce, to make sure we are conforming to the intent from the legislature for the long-term plan of the racing industry.”

The 2012 Laurel Park winter meet is scheduled to begin Wednesday, January 4. Entries will be taken Friday, December 30.