Finger Lakes racetrack is located in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of New York. It is positioned in western New York State, close to Rochester. It hosts thoroughbred racing throughout the summer months, with regular meets taking place at least three times a week between April and November. There are around 145 race-days taking place each year.
The track is twinned with a casino and gaming complex, and as it is positioned close to a number of wineries, it is always popular with visitors. It exclusively hosts afternoon racing, with the gates typically opening at 11:30am.
Although the majority of the meets held on Monday and Tuesdays tend to predominantly feature regular claiming events, there are a number of high-class races held at the track including the New York Derby, which typically takes place mid-July. This is one third of the Big Apple Triple which is staged across three different New York tracks each summer.
Finger Lakes is one of a number of North American tracks which have just one main dirt track. This is 5280 feet with 960 feet between the last turn and the finish. At the time of writing, discussions are ongoing about the possibility of adding a turf track to enable more competitive racing to take place the track.
There are currently 21 barns at the track which allows over 1,200 thoroughbred to be housed here at any given time.
The track is currently owned by Delaware North, who are a global food and hospitality firm based in Buffalo.
Finger Lakes Track History
The Finger Lakes racetrack opened on May 23rd 1962 and around 9,000 locals attended the opening day of action at the venue. Over $14 million was gambled at the track in 1962 as horse racing continued to increase in popularity around New York State. That figure has gradually increased year-on-year with a reported $200 million wagered at the track during the 1999 season.
A previous record was attained in 1978 when a total of $765,580 was wagered. This was helped by Triple Crown winning jockey Steve Cauthen racing at the track shortly after his notable success.
Many famous jockeys and trainers have competed at Finger Lakes over the years with names including Bill Shoemaker, Pat Day and Julie Krone all having featured here. Tin Cup Chalice, who was the first horse to complete the aforementioned Big Apple Triple was also based at the track. The very first race at the track was won by a horse called Pure Village who was victorious over six furlongs. Fio Rito was another famous name to race here, winning 19 of his 27 starts at the track. Funny Cide also raced here after securing the Kentucky Derby in 2007, becoming the first thoroughbred to do so. It helped attract a crowd of 12,000 spectators.
Ross Morton called every single race at the track from the opening day in 1962, before sadly passing away in 2008.
The racetrack has had numerous ownership changes over the years, and has been on the brink of going bankrupt numerous times. In the 1990s, simulcast betting was introduced at the track, and this helped revive its ailing fortunes.
In 2002, Finger Lakes opened an equine swim facility which gave trainers a chance to take a different approach with their horses post-race. There are very few of these aquatic facilities in the country.
The track underwent a $10.5 million renovation in 2004 officially changing its moniker to “Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track”. A gaming video floor was added, and this has helped increase attendance over the last decade.
In 2006, $250,000 was available in purse money for the New York Breeders Futurity and this became the largest sum available in the track’s history.
Fingers Lake Known Track Bias
There is a reliance on early pace at Finger Lakes, particularly over the shorter trips. There are a large number of races (Usually early on the card) which are held over a distance of four and a half furlongs, and these usually favor frontrunners with pace.
Of the 64 races which were held over this distance, 66% of winners went wire-to-wire. With small fields likely, if a horse can hit the front early on, it is hugely advantageous.
It was also beneficial to be drawn close to the rail. Stall one is a significant help, but the inside stalls were generally profitable for handicappers.
59% of winners went wire-to-wire over the five and a half furlong trip, and this figure significantly decreases as the distances increase. Just 25% of winners over the mile and 40 yard trip were able to lead from the front and secure victory.
The inside stalls did produce the highest number of winners during the latest meet, whilst having the outside draw was advantageous held over the six or seven furlongs. There was a mix of results for races over the exact mile. Marginally, the inside trip was the most profitable in races held over this distance.
New York State can be weather affected and a sloppy track at Finger Lakes is a regular occurrence. This can sometimes skew the results, and can hinder front runners.
Winning Post Positions
There is a decent mix of winners in sprint trips, although having an outside post is slightly advantageous according to the data from the most recent meet.
Using stats for the opening two months of the 2019 meet, we can see that stalls four and five produced the highest number of winners over the shorter trip. 20.1% of winners came from stall five whilst 18.4% of winners came from post position four. 13% of winners came from the inside post with only stalls 6-9 producing fewer winners.
The majority of sprint races featured no more than six runners, although six of the 48 runners drawn in stall eight entered the winners enclosure. Only two of the 22 runners drawn in the widest stall (9) managed to secure a victory.
The picture is different over the longer trip with the inside stalls proving far more profitable. 21.4% of winners came from the inside post, whilst a quarter of all winners in these races were drawn in stall three.
Just 17% of winners came from stall two, whilst none of the four horses drawn in stalls eight and nine were able to enjoy success at Finger Lakes. There were also 16 runners drawn in stall six and none of them have been victorious so far in 2019.
Top Trainers at Finger Lakes
Although there are a number of regular horsemen were compete at Finger Lakes, the track does also attract a number of top New York handlers. Trainers regularly visit the track, particularly during the summer months.
There a number of names to keep an eye on at future meets:
Stats (2019 Meet)
- Dylan Clarke (27% Strike Rate)
- James Acquilano (30% Strike Rate)
- Jeremiah Englehart (35% Strike Rate)
- Michael LeCesse (35% Strike Rate)
- Daniel Conway Jr (36% Strike Rate)
- Chris Englehart Jr (37% Strike Rate)
- Charlton Baker (50% Strike Rate)
Top Jockeys at Finger Lakes
There are a number of jockeys who regularly ride at Finger Lakes, and they are always worth following at the track
Stats (2019 Meet)
- Kevin Navarro (18% Strike Rate)
- Daniel Vergara (23% Strike Rate)
- Oscar Gomez (23% Strike Rate)
- Wilfredo Rohena (24% Strike Rate)
- Luis Perez (25% Strike Rate)
- Jaime Rodriguez (25% Strike Rate)
- John Davila Jr (30% Strike Rate)
Finger Lakes Racing Season and Key Races
At the time of writing, there are currently 145 race-days on the Finger Lakes calendar with the season getting underway at the end of April.
There are regular summer meets taking place with the final race-day taking place at the end of November.
Racing is typically held on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday, although the occasional Wednesday meet is also staged.
There are a number of terrific races taking place at the track, with Stakes races attracting significant crowds to the New York venue.
George W Barker Handicap, Susan B Anthony Handicap, Niagara Stakes, Wadsworth Memorial Handicap, New York Derby, Ontario County Stakes, Arctic Queen Handicap, Leon Reed Memorial Handicap, New York Oaks, Jack Betta Be Rite Handicap, Lady Fingers Stakes, Aspirant Stakes, New York Breeders Futurity, Proud Puppy Handicap, Genesee Valley Breeders Handicap, Finger Lakes Juvenile, Finger Lakes Juvenile Fillies.
Finger Lakes Racetrack Address
Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack
5857 NY 96
Farmington, NY 14425