05/18/2004 11:00PM

Lincoln: Meet figures already up


LINCOLN, Neb. - Boosted by the Preakness Stakes last Saturday, the opening weekend numbers for Lincoln State Fair got the meet off to a good start. The mutuel handles Friday and Sunday were nearly identical to last year's figures, but Saturday saw a 33-percent jump in handle on the live races, with $133,007 bet compared with $101,399 a year ago.

Early speed was a critical factor over the weekend, with seven winners leading after the first call on Friday's eight-race card. Saturday's card produced a pair of front-running winners and three more won from just off the pace, whereas only one closed from five or more lengths. The trend continued Sunday, when six horses won after leading the opening quarter mile.

Jockey Mark Anderson will be sidelined at least 4 to 6 weeks after suffering a severely broken wrist in last Sunday's eighth race. Anderson, riding He Be Pretty, was thrown hard when his mount broke down in the middle of the first turn after vying for the lead from five wide.