Disco Rico dances past Hale foes

Nemesis Lightning Paces mounts unsustained charge

August 29, 1999|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

In his maiden outing, Disco Rico bolted, ran erratically and wound up losing by a nose to Lightning Paces, a much more seasoned horse at the time.

Yesterday at Timonium, Lightning Paces mounted a challenge at the 5/16ths pole, but Disco Rico was ready, pulling away from his nemesis and rolling to a 4 1/2-length victory in the $40,000 Bobby Hale Stakes, which launched the 10-day state fair meeting.

"It was very easy. He was much the best," said winning jockey Alberto Delgado, who opened the meet with two winners in his effort to regain the riding title from injured Travis Dunkelberger. "He got away good and I just sort of sat on him and let him go."

The favorite in a field of seven, the son of Citidancer thus stretched to 6 1/2 furlongs and will extend to a mile for his next start in the Chenery Stakes on the grass course at Colonial Downs. Then, the plan is for Disco Rico to go on the Maryland Million card.

Lightning Paces mounted his bid under Greg Hutton, then safely held the place by 4 1/2 lengths over Saratoga Rapture as the three top betting choices hit the board.

Increased attendance

Opening day attracted 9,238, an increase of more than 300 persons over last year. The on-track handle was off more than $16,000, however. The total handle -- including simulcast betting on three tracks -- was $1,039,614.

Waging services paying off

The Maryland Jockey Club has received encouraging results from increased exposure to three in-home wagering services, The Television Games Network, YouBet (a computer-based system) and The Racing Network (a satellite subscription service).

"Early results indicate tremendous interest in the competition Maryland offers," said chief operating officer Jim Mango.

Blind retires

The end of the Laurel summer meeting brought retirement for Eric Blind, who spent 37 years at Maryland tracks in a variety of capacities.

His positions included starter, assistant starter and manager of the jockey quarters at Laurel and Pimlico, following in the footsteps of his uncle, Eddie, who had a legendary career as the starter for more than 72,000 races.

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