04/25/2002 12:00AM

Digital Dan drops in for a price


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - After a couple of lackluster seasons in which he has failed to win a race, multiple stakes winner Digital Dan will run for a price for the first time in a $35,000 optional race at Hastings Park this Saturday afternoon. Nine older sprinters have entered the six-furlong dash but it looks like handicappers will have to decide whether to go with Digital Dan, who is the class of the field, or Spanish Banks, who wins claiming races in bunches.

Digital Dan was a stakes star as a 3-year old but hasn't won a race since the 1999 Richmond Derby Trial. He has been exclusively facing stakes horses and should appreciate the drop into an optional even in which everyone is tagged except El Nino Mi Amor.

Digital Dan came out running last year and finished a close third in the 6 1/2-furlong George Royal Stakes. He regressed in his next two starts and after being beaten by more than 13 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile John Longden, his trainer Lance Giesbrecht turned him out for the year. Digital Dan's works have been steady if not spectacular and if he's close to what he once was, he'll be tough to beat.

Spanish Banks has been one of the most consistent horses at Hastings Park for the last two years. From 20 lifetime starts he's won eight races and finished second six times. In his last nine starts his Beyer figures haven't been below 80 or above 84. It's easy to assume that he will run his race on Saturday, but it's hard to say if it will be good enough to beat Digital Dan. He's trained by Steve Bryant who has also entered Double Time. They will run as separate interests.

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