The horsemen’s association at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, in Farmington, N.Y., is sending out its own version of stimulus checks this week to its racehorse owners and trainers.
The Finger Lakes Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, in conjunction with racetrack management, will send checks reflecting $25 for every start made by a trainer at the 2019 Finger Lakes meet and $100 for every start made by an owner. A trainer who owns the horse will get $125 per start. The total cost is estimated to be $827,000, which will be funded through canceled race days and a reduced stakes program.
“Our board of directors felt it imperative to get some quick money to our horsemen to help with expenses, including feeding their horses, as everyone waits for racing to resume in New York,” said Finger Lakes HBPA president Chris Vaccaro. “It’s designed to be a shot in the arm for our trainers and owners with horses at area farms, training centers or wintering out of state. The coronavirus has been a devastating health and economic crisis for millions of Americans.
"Our horsemen continue to feed and take care of their horses with no way to earn income to defray the cost, adding to their financial hardship.”
Finger Lakes was scheduled to let in horses for training starting March 15 and to begin its 127-date race meet on Saturday — with both dates pushed back indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Finger Lakes HBPA and Finger Lakes Gaming & Racing are working with the New York State Gaming Commission and state and local health officials to determine how and when the track can safely open for training and subsequently racing.
Finger Lakes HBPA executive director Austin Reed said he hopes the track can get in an 85- or 90-date meet.