FARMINGTON, N.Y. – Spring is just around the corner and Thoroughbreds are set to begin occupying the stables at Finger Lakes Casino & Racetrack (FLCR) by later next week in preparation for the 2012 thoroughbred racing season. Opening Day for the 163-day 2012 season is set for Friday, April 20, with a first race post time of 12:35 p.m. 2012 marks the golden anniversary of racing at the Farmington oval, which opened on May 23, 1962.
Track officials released the full schedule that also includes the restoration of nine stakes races that were removed in 2011 due to a dramatic reduction in purse supplement funding from the New York Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund (NYTBDF). That funding has been restored for 2012 and a full stakes schedule of 13 events with an estimated total purse level of just over $1 million is slated.
Upon opening of the 163-day season, Finger Lakes will run live each Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday before moving to a five-day week with the addition of Thursday as a racing day on May 10. Exceptions to the schedule include Wednesday, July 4, when a special Independence Day card will run at 1:10 p.m., with no racing taking place on Thursday, July 5 as a result. Beginning in November through the conclusion of the meet on December 7, live racing days will move to Monday through Friday with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22 when no racing will be scheduled.
Post times will be 12:35 p.m. for each Friday and 1:10 p.m. all other days through November 2. Beginning November 5, post time will move to 12:15 p.m. to accommodate the end of daylight savings time.
The 2012 stakes schedule features 13 events with total purse levels estimated to total just over $1 million. The final stakes of the year, the New York Breeders’ Futurity on Saturday, September 29 headlines the schedule with an estimated offering of $200,000.
Other highlights of the schedule include the 40th running of the $150,000 (added) New York Derby on Saturday, July 21. The New York Derby is the second leg of the Big Apple Triple for New York-bred 3-year- olds, which begins with the Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont Park in late June and concludes with the Albany at Saratoga in late August. Finger Lakes-based Tin Cup Chalice is the first and only horse to ever to sweep all three legs of New York’s version of the Triple Crown in its 13-year history, doing so in 2008.
For the eighth consecutive season, FM Talk 92.1 WYSL and NEWSPOWER 1040AM will provide exclusive live coverage of selected Finger Lakes stakes action. A total of four stakes including the New York Derby will be broadcast live, complete with pre and post-race analysis hosted by J.C. DeLass.
The stakes season begins with the $50,000 George W. Barker Handicap (NY bred 3-year olds & up) on Memorial Day, May 28.