04/11/2006 11:00PM

Davila, Englehart look to dominate another meeting


John Davila Jr. and Chris Englehart, the dominant rider and trainer, respectively, for the past several years at Finger Lakes, will be prominent again when the western New York track begins its 45th season on Friday afternoon.

The 160-day meet, which will run through Nov. 28, features 17 stakes worth an estimated $1.25 million.

Davila will be shooting for his fifth consecutive riding title at the Farmington track after finishing with 153 winners last season, including the 2000th of his career on Nov. 11.

Englehart has topped the trainer standings for three straight seasons and five times overall. He had a track-record 136 winners in 2004 and 118 winners last year.

Last year, Davila and Englehart were a particularly potent combination, winning 94 of 354 starts (26 percent). They will team up in Friday's seventh race with the 6-year-old mare Miss Lionel, who comes off a pair of in-the-money finishes at Mountaineer.

The 34th running of the $150,000-added New York Derby on July 15 will once again be the season's biggest race.

The New York Derby is the second leg of the Big Apple Triple for New York-bred 3-year-olds.

Other meet highlights include the Lady Finger and Aspirant stakes on Aug. 19. Both races, worth an estimated $100,000 apiece, serve as a stepping-stones to the $200,000 New York Breeders' Futurity for New York-bred 2-year-olds on Labor Day, Sept. 4. Last year, the Futurity was worth a track-record $248,400.

Business at Finger Lakes changed dramatically when a gaming area containing 1,010 slots opened in February 2004. The track has raised purses twice since then, boosting the daily average overnight purses from $63,000 to $97,000. Purse levels to begin this season will average roughly $95,000 daily, a figure that officials are expected to re-examine in June.

Friday's feature is a $19,600 first-level allowance for statebreds going 4 1/2 furlongs.

The favorite is Crying Poverty, a 4-year-old colt who flashed high speed against the best sprinters on the grounds at Penn National in his last two starts. Crying Poverty is trained by Sam Keyrouze, who began last season's meet at Finger Lakes by winning with 7 of his first 14 starters.

For the first time, Finger Lakes will offer 10-cent superfectas, available on races 5 and 9 on nine-race cards.

At a glance

RACING SCHEDULE: 160 days; Friday through Nov. 28; Fridays through Tuesdays; no racing on Sundays in April, October, and November; no racing on Thanksgiving, Nov. 23

POST TIME: Friday through Oct. 28, 1:10 p.m., except Fridays from May 12 - July 21, 12:35 p.m.; Oct. 30 - Nov. 28, 12:15 p.m.

HIGHLIGHTS: $150,000 New York Derby, July 15; $200,000 New York Breeders' Futurity, Sept. 4



LOCATION: 5857 Route 96, Farmington, N.Y.

SLOTS: More than 1,000 machines; open 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; closed on Thanksgiving, Nov. 23.

SIMULCASTING: Daily, except on Easter, April 16, and Thanksgiving, Nov. 23

PHONE: (585) 924-3232

INTERNET: www.fingerlakesracetrack.com