12/03/2011 1:24PM

Finger Lakes: Last four rides for Grabowski

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Stepahnie Van Minos/Tom Cooley
John Grabowski, who won this year's New York Derby aboard Socialsaul, announced he will retire after Monday's closing-day card at Finger Lakes.

When Finger Lakes brings down the curtain on its 2011 season Monday, it will also mark the end of John Grabowski’s riding career.

Grabowski, 50, who led the Finger Lakes jockey standings six times and is one of only three riders to win more than 3,000 races at the western New York track, announced he will retire to become a trainer after riding four mounts on Monday’s closing-day nine-race card.

“I am still riding at a high level but I feel like it’s time,” said Grabowski. “I’ve had a great career.”

Grabowski holds Finger Lakes single-season records with 233 victories in 2000 and nine stakes wins in 2001. His career total of 3,088 victories at his home track are second only to Les Hulet.

This season, Grabaowski ranks sixth in the standings with 85 wins through Dec. 2. He won the $150,000 New York Derby with Socialsaul and the $135,325 Lady Finger Stakes with Shot Gun Pennie to finish with 77 stakes wins locally for his career.

“I want to get into something else different and exciting,” said Grabowski, who since 1979 has racked up 3,401 wins and more than $28 million in purse earnings. “I think I’m capable of it.”

Grabowski actually has two years of experience as a trainer. He went 18 for 70 in 1992 and 1993 before resuming riding in 1994.

◗ Closing day features four races with fields of nine or more horses, including a pair of allowances for New York-breds.

The 7-year-old gelding Smokin Lu, 12 for 35 lifetime locally, is the logical favorite in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint (race 7) after just missing by a head against similar competition on Nov. 12. The spoiler could be Late Night Hookup, who comes back six days after finishing fourth in a tough open $4,000 claiming event in which the three horses who oufinished him combined for 13 wins this season.

Grabowski has the mount on morning-line favorite She’s My Image in the eighth race for fillies and mares going a mile and 70 yards. The 3-year-old She’s My Image makes her Finger Lakes debut after a third-place finish against bottom-level claimers at Aqueduct. The 12-horse field also includes Alpha Galpha Pi, who has a win and a close second in two starts since she was stretched out from a series of sprints.