Linda Rice Notches 165th NYRA Training Win To Set Single-Season Record

December 31, 2023

George’s Vice a record-setting winner for Linda Rice (NYRA/Coglianese)

By Keith McCalmont – NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Trainer Linda Rice secured a record 165th training win on the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit for 2023 when George’s Vice posted a gate-to-wire score in Race 2 on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

With Eric Cancel up, Cloud Nine Stable’s George’s Vice zipped through splits of 22.78 seconds and 46.78 over the fast main track in the 6 1/2-furlong claiming sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. The 3-year-old New York-bred daughter of Unified held a precarious advantage at the top of the stretch, but dug in gamely to stave off her stablemate Active Lane and post the one-length win in a final time of 1:18.61. George’s Vice, bred in the Empire State by Barry Ostrager, paid $20.80 to win.

“It’s a tough number to get to. I think about how we’re starting over at one tomorrow,” said Rice, with a laugh. “It’s just been an incredible year. I’m really excited and I just hope we can do something that will compare going forward. That’s a high bar to set.”

Rice, a 59-year-old resident of Floral Park, N.Y., eclipsed the previous single-season record of 164 set by trainer David Jacobson in 2013. Rice has enjoyed a banner year on the NYRA circuit, earning leading trainer honors at the winter [37 wins] and spring [17 wins] meets at the Big A; the Belmont Park spring/summer meet [34 wins]; as well as tying with Chad Brown [35 wins] to register her second title at the Saratoga Race Course summer meet. She has also secured the title at the Aqueduct fall meet, which concludes today, with George’s Vice marking her 20th win at the meet.

Rice, who campaigned 2015 Champion Female Sprinter La Verdad, has saddled 11 horses to stakes scores on the NYRA circuit this season, including graded wins with Joey Freshwater [G3 Bay Shore] and Mommasgottarun [G3 Distaff Handicap] along with stakes winners Amanda’s Folly [Ticonderoga], Betsy Blue [Interborough], Downtown Mischief [Bouwerie, Cicada], El Grande O [Bertram F. Bongard, Sleepy Hollow], Hot Fudge [Garland of Roses], Ichiban [Fleet Indian], Les Bon Temps [NYSSS Park Avenue], Pioneering Spirit [Bernard Baruch, Knickerbocker], and Runaway Rumour [John F. Hettinger].

Rice noted victories with claimed horses Pioneering Spirit, haltered for $40,000 in March for owner A. Bianco Holding Limited, and Mommasgottarun, taken for $50,000 last December for owner Ronald P. Stewart, among numerous high points on the year.

“We claimed Pioneering Spirit in March in a maiden $40,000, and for him to win the Bernaud Baruch, win the Knickerbocker, run in Grade 1s, that was exciting,” Rice said. “Mommasgottarun we claimed in December. She won a Grade 3, wins a couple of allowance races for some new clients. That was really exciting.”

The veteran conditioner also noted the ultra-consistent Sheriff Bianco [14-1-7-4 in 2023] and stakes winners Amanda’s Folly and Ichiban as seasonal standouts along with the promising El Grande O, who is nominated to next weekend’s Jerome here.

Rice saddled her first winner, Contraboss, in 1987 at Garden State Park and now boasts a career ledger of 12,879-2409-1989-1829 for purse earnings in excess of $104 million according to stats provided by Equibase.

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