Finger Lakes Gaming & Racing will add almost 200 video lottery terminals as part of a $4-million expansion, but a top official with owner Delaware North indicated major racing-related projects, such as installation of a turf course and perhaps a synthetic surface, are closely linked to the VLT revenue model in New York.
While preparations are being made for the 2007 celebration commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Colonial Downs officials are looking forward to experiencing their own "new world" this summer when the Virginia racetrack opens for live racing June 16.
While turf racing wasn't originally scheduled to commence at Monmouth Park until June 24, management is planning on carding the first race on the brand new course six days earlier than expected.
Grade III turf winner G P Fleet, who earned most of his $564,918 after being claimed for $80,000 in his fourth career start, was injured in an April 13 allowance race at Keeneland and has been retired.
The season's first round of turf workouts took place Wednesday morning at Santa Anita Park when 34 horses breezed at distances from four furlongs to one mile. Opening day at Santa Anita is Dec. 26 and all workers were relegated to the outside portion of the course, 48 feet from the inner rail.
The absence of turf racing didn't impact the Hollywood Park fall meet as much as expected--at least in terms of averages--according to meet-end figures released by the Southern California racetrack.
Colonial Downs will continue with its plan to gradually add more Thoroughbred racing dates, having asked the Virginia Racing Commission for 42 days in 2006, two more than this year and eight more than 2004.
Kentucky Downs, the all-turf racetrack located on the Tennessee border in Franklin, Ky., canceled live racing Sept. 26 because of heavy rain and its effect on the course condition.
Seeking to build upon a successful 2005 meet, Indiana Downs has submitted a proposal for 2006 race dates that would shift the 49-day meet back two weeks and incorporate afternoon racing three days a week. The Shelbyville track offered afternoon racing this spring in the form of a "Turf Tuesdays" program.
Thoroughbred racing returns to Indiana April 15 when Indiana Downs hosts the first of 48 cards that will comprise its 2005 race meet. The Shelbyville racetrack will conduct live racing Tuesdays through Saturdays through June 18, a change from the 2004 schedule aimed at maximizing simulcast handle.
Colonial Downs' plan to offer the "Grand Slam of Grass," a major turf series for 3-year-olds that carries the potential for $5 million in total purse awards, was well received by the Virginia Racing Commission March 16. The track has hired a marketing agency to push the series.
Colonial Downs in Virginia opens June 11 for a 34-day meet that again will feature extensive use of the facility's turf course.
Turf racing debuted in Indiana May 14 when Indiana Downs unveiled its seven-furlong grass course. The track near Shelbyville held its inaugural Thoroughbred meet last spring.
Indiana Downs opened its second Thoroughbred meet April 16 with backstretch upgrades and more markets for its signal.
The action on the grass at Gulfstream Park is heating up with two graded turf stakes for older horses and a grass event for 3-year-old fillies highlighting the action.
Several Triple Crown contenders are among the nominees for the $500,000 Virginia Derby, centerpiece of the upcoming meet at Colonial Downs. The turf event is scheduled for July 12.
When patrons arrive at Colonial Downs this summer for live racing, there will be a few changes, said John Mooney, general manager of Colonial Downs and president of the Maryland-Virginia Racing Circuit.
The Sonoma County Fair plans to build a $3-million turf course by 2004 in hopes of enhancing its summer racing schedule. But the longtime leading trainer on the Northern California circuit said it wouldn't affect his plans.
In what clearly has become one of most interesting race meets in North America, Colonial Downs will kick off its 2002 season the weekend of June 21-23 with 30 races, all of them scheduled for the turf.
Playfair could open as soon as 2003; Andy Stronach interested in building turf track near Canadian border.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Older horses have more opportunities to win a grade I race on turf than they do on dirt in the U.S.
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