From all outward appearances, Eric Blind was composed and had the presence of a man in charge. He was. The responsibility of starting the Preakness was his alone. The button that set off the electrical response, which in turn opened the gate, was in his hand.
The pressure was there. It was his first starting assignment of a major race, the 1980 Preakness, part of the Triple Crown. He had previously started the Delaware Handicap but there was indeed a difference.
"I had a sportswriter on one of the bottom steps of the starter's stand," said Blind. "He had been there for a lot of years with my uncle, Eddie, who started the Preakness 37 times. That day meant more to me than anything in the world. I wanted to do everything right.