Finger Lakes

Finger Lakes

Courtesy of Finger Lakes

Simulcasting Deal Reached at Finger Lakes

Short-term deal between track, FL HBPA to run through Feb. 4.

With the looming opening of a nearby casino threatening its future as a racetrack, officials at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack in upstate New York announced a short-term deal with the track's horse owners and trainers to resume simulcasting operations while the sides try to work out a longer term survival plan.

Simulcasting at the track, located south of Rochester, was halted Jan. 1 after the Finger Lakes Horsemen Benevolent and Protective Association declined to approve a deal to allow the off-track wagering to continue. The horsemen’s group said it was unable to OK a 2017 contract with the track, which it said was trying to reduce the number of race dates in the coming year in the face of new competition from a casino due to open in the next month or so located 27 miles away.

The sides have been in negotiations to determine, among other things, if the state government will play a role to save the only Thoroughbred racing in upstate New York outside of the summer meet in Saratoga Springs.

David Brown, president of the horsemen’s group, said Jan. 10 his organization Ok’d a temporary deal to restore simulcasting at the track as a “good faith” contribution to the negotiations.

“Everybody is working hard to work out some sort of agreement to keep Finger Lakes running,’’ he said.

The simulcasting signal–offering Thoroughbred and harness track races from around the country--will be turned back on at the track Jan. 11

Chris Riegle, president and general manager at the Delaware North-owned track, said the company is pleased the horsemen’s board of directors Ok’d a resumption of simulcast operations “while negotiations to reach agreement on parameters for the 2017 live racing season continue.’’

The resumption of simulcasting is set to expire Feb. 4 if a new 2017 contract is not reached.