ABOUT THE FUND

The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund (the Fund) is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the Fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the State. To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes races, Excelsior/State Fair Series races, and County Fair Races. Additionally, the Fund provides assistance to county agriculture societies and contributes to the statewide 4-H program and to the Harry M. Zweig Fund for Equine Research.


FINANCIAL OVERVIEW

The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund was established by the LaVerne Law in 1965.  The law empowered the Fund to promote the breeding of harness horses and the conduct of equine research in the state.

In order to carry out its legislative mission the Fund receives money from the mutual handle at the licensed tracks across the state and uses this money to provide purse money for the New York Sire Stakes in these major areas:

  1. Sire Stakes Races At The Pari-Mutuel Tracks---The most talented New York-bred 2 and 3 year olds vie for enhanced purses at the state's pari-mutuel tracks.  The top performers meet for the "Night of Champions".
  2. Excelsior/State Fair Series--- It is an additional racing opportunity for 2-year-old and 3-year-old New York-bred trotters and pacers who have staked into the Excelsior/State Fair series. Three-year-olds can also participate in a State Fair race that is held at the Goshen Historic Track. 
  3. County Fair Racing---The best "earn as you learn" program in Sire Stakes racing.  Non-pari-mutuel racing at 22 agricultural fairs throughout New York State.  Championship races at each age and gait top off a summer of local fairs throughout the state.
  4. Additional Objectives--In addition to the above, the Fund provides assistance to county agricultural societies to maintain and repair racing facilities.  The Fund also contributes to both the 4-H program and the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Fund for Equine Research at Cornell University.

By law, the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund cannot incur debt.  The Fund has no subsidiaries.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund and the New York Sire Stakes is to promote agriculture through the breeding of horses. To that end the Ag Fund directs the state's premier harness racing program designed to stimulate the breeding, buying and racing of standardbred horses in New York State. The New York Sire Stakes is the nation' s oldest harness racing program of its kind. We believe that these goals can best be accomplished by supporting educational programs, equine research and supplementation of racing purses at NYS pari-mutuel tracks, County Fairs and the Goshen Historic Track. Our authority accepts that by accomplishing our mission we will improve the economic wellbeing of the Empire State, keep agricultural lands in service producing products of value, preserve open space and increase employment opportunities throughout the whole of New York State.*


HISTORY

The New York Sire Stakes was the first program of its kind developed in North America and later became the model for state-bred racing programs in nearly all of the major harness racing states and provinces on the continent.

Sponsored by NYS harness racing industry organizations, the first NYSS events were held in 1961. The official New York Sire Stakes program was inaugurated in 1965 when the state's harness tracks and breeding industry leaders who sought to spur the breeding industry successfully lobbied the State Legislature for support of their endeavor.

The group was led by the late Dr. Harry M. Zweig, a distinguished veterinarian from Nassau, NY. Dr. Zweig's tireless efforts proved successful when the Laverne Law was enacted.

The legislation created the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund (the Fund), the public benefit corporation that administers the New York Sire Stakes program. The law mandates the Fund to receive a percentage of the industry's betting handle to manage the NYSS program and to perpetuate its mission.

The New York horse racing industry came together once again in 2001 to advance the sport of harness racing in the state through the addition of video lottery terminals at each race track. With harness racing's late Bruce Hamilton leading the way, the industry again ran a successful campaign and the NYS legislature amended the pari-mutuel law, allowing video lottery terminals at the state's harness racetracks.

The first Racino opened at Saratoga Raceway in 2004, paving the way for racinos at the remaining six race tracks statewide.

Since the inception of racinos at harness tracks, New York Sire Stakes purses have more than doubled and continue to increase!



 
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