06/26/2007 11:00PM

A first at Finger Lakes

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Finger Lakes will soon become home to the first Thoroughbred adoption facility on the grounds of a racetrack.

A ceremonial ground-breaking ceremony Friday morning will launch construction of the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program's Purple Haze Center.

Named in honor of the contributions toward construction made by Wanda Polisseni of the Purple Haze Stable, the center will showcase adoptable retired racehorses to the public and serve as a central headquarters for the adoption organization.

State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio secured $60,000 in funding from New York State to assist in the building of the center, and two acres of land was donated by Delaware North Companies, the parent company of Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack.

A 10,000-square-foot structure will include 16 stalls as well as an indoor exercise area. There will also be a 14,000-square-foot outdoor fenced paddock. Construction is expected to take about 10 weeks, with the opening projected for mid-September.

Since its inception less than three years ago, more than 200 retired Finger Lakes race horses have been placed through the adoption program and the efforts of Dr. Margaret Ohlinger, the program's executive director and examining veterinarian at Finger Lakes.

"It is our hope that this center will have a trendsetting effect on all racetracks and that many take our lead and join us in doing all we can to provide our retired equine athletes with comfortable homes in their life after the racetrack," Ohlinger said.