03/22/2005 12:00AM

Etc. . . .

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Delaware North Companies, the Buffalo, N.Y.-based owner of Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack and operator of video lottery terminals at Saratoga Raceway, has joined the lobbying group Friends of New York Racing Inc. Delaware North joins Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment group, among others, as a member. . . . The Melbourne Cup Handicap has had its purse increased by $500,000 (Australian), so the Nov. 1 running will be worth $5 million (U.S. $3,927,500). First prize in the event will now be worth U.S. $2.37 million. . . . Award-winning journalist Mike Kane has been hired as the communications officer for the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. He will succeed Richard Hamilton, who recently announced his plans to retire.