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News and Insight On Winbak Farm

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Banner Year For Yonkers Raceway

Tuesday, December 20, 2011  By: Standardbred Canada

At Yonkers Raceway, 2011 was a very good year for harness racing.

According to a release issued Tuesday by the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, overnight purses over the 245 race days of live harness racing averaged a whopping $18,694.03 per race. That amount represents the highest average overnight purses given out anywhere at a single track over a year ‘round, five nights per week schedule offering between 11 and 13 races per card.

The release also points out that in the timeframe spanning from the Petticoat Series which commenced in March through to the Messenger classic contested in November, some $5,536,674.00 in purse money was raced for in stakes, early and late closers. This total is in addition to the money generated at Yonkers for the New York Sire Stakes and its Late Closer program, as well as the Fall Harvest Races, to the tune of an additional $5 million.

The remainder of the release from SOA of NY appears below.

Thanks to the investment and continued stewardship of the Rooney family, Yonkers Raceway is the economic lifeblood of the New York State harness racing industry. It generates the revenue that fuels the reinvestment by thousands of in-state horsemen not only in New York bred horses, but also in goods and services in local communities; home purchases; cars; equipment and, in many cases, turning older, sometimes abandoned farms and acreage into state-of-the-art training and breeding centers. The vitality of the Yonkers racing product has reversed the exodus of horsemen, with many top-flight trainers and drivers relocating from the Midwest, Canada and elsewhere to partake in our sport’s Empire State renaissance. Yonkers even boasts the 2011 United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year, George Brennan.

The rejuvenation that has dramatically increased the popularity of Yonkers’ racing and the prices of New York bred and sired horses is soon to be experienced on the Thoroughbred side of the racing industry, now that the Resorts World Casino is up and running at Aqueduct. All in all, the State of New York has done proud its citizens and the horse racing and agricultural industries, themselves the most labor intensive of all, in the areas of job creation and funding for education. If what was experienced in 2011 is a precursor to 2012, the best is truly yet to come.

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