| LINDA LOUISE RICE
First-Ever Woman to Win Training Titles at Historic Saratoga Race Course AND Belmont Park!
Winningest Female Trainer Of All Time: 1,460 Wins With Over $55.6 Million In Purse Money Earned!
Linda Rice, 49, is the trainer for the Trackmen Racing Stables and has the distinct honor of being the first woman profiled in this column. Linda was foaled in Racine, WI, and raised in Hershey, PA. Currently she lives as a bachelorette in Floral Park, NY, just a few furlongs from her stable at Belmont Park Racetrack. Linda attended Penn State University at the State College Campus in State College, PA, in 1982, where she studied computer science for two years.
Linda’s father, Clyde Rice, is a trainer and her mother Jean assists in the operation of her husband’s racing stable. Having horses with Linda is a true family-affair. Her parents own and operate Indian Prairie Ranch in Anthony, FL, outside Ocala. There her father breaks, trains and develops young horses and operates two training centers. A brother, Brian Rice, owns and operates Woodside Ranch, also near Ocala in Ft. McCoy. Most of Linda’s young horses are sent to one of the family’s ranches for their early training while Linda makes frequent trips there to oversee their preparation. Linda recalls a compelling moment in 1973 at age 9 when she and her family were gathered around their home TV watching the great champion Secretariat capture the Triple Crown. It was then she realized the horse racing game was for her. Linda, bred into the horse racing business, worked in many different capacities including hotwalker, groom, exercise rider and assistant trainer for her father before taking out her own trainer’s license in New Jersey in 1987 at age 23. She established the Linda Rice Racing Stable and her first winner was Contraboss at Garden State Racetrack in NJ that same year.
As Linda’s stable began to grow in size and quality, she moved to NY in 1991 and achieved much success. With Belmont Park established as her year-round home base, Linda currently has 28 horses training at that Long Island facility; she also operates a seasonal division at Finger Lakes as well as a division on the NJ circuit at Monmouth Park. In addition she campaigns winter divisions at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs in South Florida. Thru June 5, 2016, Rice has won a career total of 1,453 races with 1,224 seconds and 1,135 thirds. while earning $55.6 million in purse monies. Saratoga 2009 was also a record meet for Ms Rice, as she broke the barrier and was crowned the historic meet's first-ever woman to lead the final trainer standings (20 wins). Linda has tightened the girth on over 65 stakes winners including seven Grade 1 winners. Some of Linda’s more notable graded stake winners include her personal favorite, City Zip, who swept all three major juveniles stake races at the prestigious Saratoga Racecourse summer meeting in 2000– the Grade 3 Sanford, the Grade 2 Saratoga Special and the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes. City Zip became just the fourth horse in history and the first since Dehere in 1993 to sweep all three races. City Zip won over $800,000 in his career before being retired to stud. Another good runner was Things Change, a winner of over $400,000, who became Linda’s first Grade 1 winner when she took the 1998 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga. Also in 1998, Linda became the first female to win a Grade 1 stakes race at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, KY; her trainee Tenski, a winner of over $600,000, won the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Tenski also annexed two graded stakes at Saratoga in 1998: the Lake Placid and Lake George Stakes. Another notable feat in Linda’s career occurred in 1995 when she won the Astoria Stakes with Zee Lady and the Tremont Stakes with Rosie O’Greta, the only filly to win the Tremont in 105 years. Linda also trained Soldier Field, a 3-year-old graded stake winner on the turf who equaled two track records, one on the turf and one on the dirt. Linda has campaigned numerous other stakes horses, including Double Booked, Fabulous Force, Lady Lear, Lucifer's Stone, Premiere Express, Rapid Selection, Ready Jet Go, Second in Command. Shoot to Kill, The Silver Move, Torgan and Twilight Time. Under Linda’s supervision, the following horses set course records: Yankee Tradition at Saratoga, Zee Lady and Soldier Field at Aqueduct, Lady Lear at Belmont Park, and Double Booked at Laurel and Pimlico.
When asked what aspect of racing she enjoys most, Linda quickly answered “Winning” and added “I enjoy attending the horse sales and buying young racing prospects and watching them develop and campaigning them. I especially enjoy when one of the prospects turns into a stakes winner or hopefully a graded stakes winner”. The majority of the runners in Linda’s stable are purchased by Linda for her clients at the horse auctions. She has been very successful with selecting prospectsfrom the sales and consequently has a very good reputation in the industry for “having a good eye for a horse at the sales”. Linda has trained for NY Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and remarks “It wasn’t easy training for him!” Linda’s words of wisdom to horse owners are“be patient, keep your quality up and your numbers down”.
When she is not saddling horses or attending horse sales, Linda enjoys movies, the theater and music in her precious spare time.
I have known Linda for over 25 years. We were once contemporaries and I personally selected her from a group of over 200 NY trainers to head our Trackmen Racing Stables. She is very professional and competent and she employs a great staff complimented by a very efficient stable office and secretary. Linda Rice and the Trackmen Racing Stables have enjoyed many successes together and look forward to many more!