Finger Lakes Ready to Begin New Season

Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack will kick off its 161-day meet April 15 with a stakes schedule and overnight purses comparable with those of last year.

The track, located in Farmington, N.Y., southeast of Rochester, will race five days a week from May through November. From May through September, racing will be held Fridays through Tuesdays; in October and November, Thursdays will replace Sundays.

The meet begins with two consecutive days of racing, followed by two weeks with racing on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

The $150,000 New York Derby for state-bred 3-year-olds July 16 highlights the 17-event, $1.065-million stakes schedule. The Derby is the second leg of the Big Apple Triple, which begins with the June 26 Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont Park and concludes with the Aug. 24 Albany Handicap at Saratoga.

Another major event at the track where up to 80% of the horses traditionally are New York-breds is the $100,000 New York Breeders' Futurity for state-bred 2-year-olds Sept. 5. Preps for that event--the Aspirant Stakes for colts and the Lady Fingers for fillies--are slated for Aug. 20.

Video gaming machines became operational at Finger Lakes in early 2004 as part of a $10.5-million facility reconstruction. Purses last year averaged $105,756, up 40.5% from the previous year, and are expected to remain at least at that level.

Chris Englelhart and John Davila Jr., the leading trainer and jockey, respectively, last year with 136 wins each, are back in town for the new season. Post time will be 1:10 p.m. EDT through Oct. 28, with the exception of Fridays between May 6-July 22, when it will be 12:35 p.m. From Oct. 29-Nov. 29, post time will be 12:15.