ROCHESTER (WXXI) - There will be a racing season at Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack. The 56th consecutive season of thoroughbred racing was somewhat in doubt when the track owners and the horsemen's association could not agree on terms for this upcoming season.
Officials say the main difficulty has been trying to predict how the opening of the del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County would affect revenues.
But the season came together with the help of additional money from the track, the New York Breeders' Association and a contribution from del Lago.
Finger Lakes spokesman Steve Martin says it is crucial for the local economy to have this season run since about 1200 jobs depend on it. “...between our own direct employees and even more so with the several hundred people that work for trainers, backstretch workers, exercise riders, all sorts of folks that are involved with the racing industry here locally."
Dave Brown is president of the Horsemen's Association. He says the deal is not perfect, but it's better than the possibility of not having a season, which would impact a lot of workers and their families.
He says the deal calls for fewer races than last year until officials can see just what the impact of the new casino will be on revenues at Finger Lakes.
“If in fact del Lago pulls a lot more money from the Racino than we’re expecting, then this racing schedule is going to have to be amended. If on the other hand del Lago pulls what it is now or something less than what we expect, then we’ll make it through the year.”
As part of the agreement, there will be fewer racing days run this year than last year, and one less race per day, at least at the beginning of the season.
The new season starts on April 22nd and runs through November 28th. It's expected officials and the horsemen's association will get together later in the year to plan out what they can do for next year.