Finger Lakes Opens 2024 Meet with Increased Purses

By Nicole Russo

Courtesy Daily Racing Form

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Barbara D. Livingston / Finger Lakes opens its 91-day meet Monday with increased purses that total $500,000.

Finger Lakes opens its 2024 live racing season with increased purses, a new announcer, and its longtime major events highlighting the stakes schedule.

Finger Lakes – located in Farmington, N.Y. – kicks off its 91-day season Monday. The track, in conjunction with the Finger Lakes Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, has announced purse increases totaling $500,000 for much of its standard fare. Beginning with the first condition book, $5,000 claimers who are nonwinners this year or nonwinners of four races will now compete for purses of $14,000, a $1,400 increase from 2023 levels. Meanwhile, maiden claimers of $11,000 will now race for $17,000, a $1,000 increase; $11,000 claimers who are nonwinners on the year or nonwinners of four will run for $18,100.

On the allowance side, purses will range from $26,000 for nonwinners of two to $26,800 for nonwinners of four. Statebred allowance races range from $24,500 for the preliminary condition to $26,000 for the third statebred condition.

Purse levels for maiden special weight races remain at $32,100. The bottom purse will be $13,500 for maiden $5,000 claimers.

“We’re thrilled to be able to raise purses for our hard-working and dedicated horsemen and women,” racing secretary Jerry Richards said in a press release. “We thank the Finger Lakes HBPA on working with us to make this possible.”

Finger Lakes has scheduled 14 stakes races in 2024, with one highlight being the $150,000 New York Derby on July 15. The race regularly pits local 3-year-olds against standout shippers from the New York Racing Association circuit. In the last 10 editions, horses to win the race include trainees from Steve Asmussen, Chad Brown, and Todd Pletcher. Pletcher’s 2021 winner, Americanrevolution, went on to be a Grade 1 winner and New York’s horse of the year.

The richest stakes on the schedule is the $200,000 New York Breeders’ Futurity, which will highlight a rich Oct. 21 card, with three stakes races and local claiming horses highlighted. Finger Lakes introduced a claiming series for older distance horses, the North Warning Series, last year, with three legs and a final. The races proved so popular that this year, alongside the North Warning Series, Finger Lakes will add three additional claiming series – the Unhinged Iron Distance Claiming Series for fillies and mares, and a pair of sprint series, the Mt. Rushmore and the Wise Awake. Each of the series will conclude with a final $25,000 leg on the Futurity undercard.

“We see a lot of value to our horsemen by running these claiming series,” Richards said. “The rich final of each series gives these lower-level claimers a nice opportunity to make some good money, and we’re all for that.”

All the action will be narrated by Anthony Stabile, picking up the mic. Stabile had served as the backup announcer on the New York Racing Association circuit and most recently called races at Yonkers Raceway.

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