07/16/2001 11:00PM

Black wins stakes on Light Dancer


An old friend who needed someone to pick up a mount on his filly called upon Anthony Black in the Delaware Park jockeys' room. As it turned out, it was the friend who was doing Black a favor.

Black agreed to ride Florida shipper Light Dancer and the filly rewarded him by scoring a convincing 2 1/2-length victory in Tuesday's $55,000 Spicy Living Stakes. Light Dancer ($23.80) covered about 1 1/16 miles of turf in 1:44.93.

In a three-way photo for second, Waiting Time finished a nose ahead of race favorite Go Baby Go, who nosed fourth-place finisher Company Storm for the show.

According to Black, he and Manny Criollo, the trainer of Light Dancer, go back a long way. "Manny and I rode together for quite a few years," said Black, 49, who began riding 31 years ago. "He came up to the jockeys' room and told me he wanted me to ride his filly. That's the benefit of being around a long while. You know a lot of people."

Light Dancer, a deep closer who hadn't shown any kick in her most recent two starts at Calder, probably would have been in trouble again if she had sat far back off what turned out to be a modest pace. But she was able to stay within 1 1/2 lengths of early pacesetter Hazino after a half-mile in 49.83 seconds and responded when asked to run approaching the three-eighths pole.

"She dragged me to the lead and just galloped from there," Black said. "I just enjoyed the ride the rest of the way because she did it so easy."