In an agreement reached this month between the New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund (“the Fund”) and Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack (FLGR), purse enrichment money from the Fund in the amount of $600,000 will finance 40-50% purse increases for maiden special weight races and the first two levels of allowance races at the Farmington, New York racetrack.
Infusion of Fund Purse Enrichment money into the Finger Lakes purse structure will increase the value of maiden special weight races by close to 49% at FLGR in 2019, with a total purse of $31,270 which includes up to $4,770 of open company owners' awards from the Fund's incentive program. In 2018, New York-breds won 90% of FLGR maiden special weight races. Of these, 68% were won by New York-sired progeny.
New first-level allowance races will now be worth up to $30,680 which includes up to $4,680 of open company owners' awards from the Fund's incentive program. The races are carded for 3-year-olds and up who have never won $12,000 other than maiden, claiming, starter or state-bred allowance, OR who have never won two races lifetime.
New second-level allowance races for 3-year-olds and up who have never won two races other than maiden, claiming, starter or state-bred allowance, OR who have never won three races lifetime will be worth up to $31,860 which includes up to $4,860 of open company owners' awards from the Fund's incentive program.
NYTB Executive Director Jeffrey Cannizzo said: “By enhancing multiple conditioned races, we hope to provide a strong incentive for horses to come to Finger Lakes and stay stabled on the grounds for subsequent conditions of value. Also, breeders, owners and stallion owners will get the additional benefit of an opportunity to earn increased incentive awards from the Fund commensurate with the increased purses.”
FLGR President and General Manager Chris Riegle added: “The purse hikes will allow us to better attract new allowance horses that will improve the competitive nature of the Finger Lakes racing product by increasing field size, racing quality and ultimately will result in increased pari-mutuel handle. And we have a number of unallocated stalls that are available for new stables who wish to apply for the Spring meet.”
John Poklemba, Chairman of the Fund, praised participants in the negotiation for the time and effort they put into the project: “I sincerely hope that the parties which negotiated this agreement will see more entries and higher quality racing that will appeal to gamblers and racing fans alike.”
As important as it was to add these new conditions, it was equally important for Finger Lakes to continue to offer the second and third-level allowance races for New York-breds in a regular cycle familiar to Finger Lakes trainers. It is worth noting that, historically, New York-breds win virtually all allowance conditions at Finger Lakes. In 2018 New York-breds won 97% of all allowance races at Finger Lakes. Of these, New York-sired progeny won 54%.
Cannizzo concluded, “This year will see the largest purses at Finger Lakes on record for maiden specials and the first two levels of allowance races. Breeders, owners and stallion businesses will now see 40-50% increases in the awards they earn on these races. It's a win-win for everyone. Horsemen with stock that belong at this level across the northeast region should truly give Finger Lakes a close look when this enhanced purse structure appears in the spring condition book next week.”
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