Finger Lakes Racetrack in upstate New York will resume thoroughbred racing again this year thanks to a new agreement between management and horsemen.
The two-year pact comes as the racetrack/casino facility deals with increased competition from a new casino nearby. The Blood-Horse magazine reports the Finger Lakes' purse account will receive funds from the new casino, from track owner Delaware North, and from the New York Breeding and Development Fund under the new deal.
The arrangement should keep purses on par with 2016 averages, according the The Blood-Horse, despite the upcoming season containing ten fewer racing dates than last year.
There’s an option available to extend the deal, reported to be worth $600,000 during a third year. Statistics compiled by the track's horsemen's group show 73 percent of total starts at Finger Lakes were made by New York-bred horses, and the track is said to be responsible for 1,200 jobs.
The state Gaming Commission signed off Thursday on the plan that was initially proposed several weeks ago. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement, “Finger Lakes Racetrack is a key economic driver for the region that employs hundreds of New Yorkers, while also supporting the local the agriculture industry, and this agreement will ensure its continued operation without an additional expense to taxpayers,”
Dave Brown, president of the Finger Lakes horsemen association, added, “Without this timely agreement, the entire 2017 racing season was put in jeopardy as was the livelihoods of the 1,200 families that rely on us for their financial well-being.”
Live racing at Finger Lakes is expected to resume April 22 and continue through November 28. Races from Finger Lakes are simulcast nationwide.