Linda Rice, who edged out Todd Pletcher to become the first female trainer to win the Saratoga meet title, will be the next guest on bloodhorse.com’s Talkin’ Horses podcast.
Rice, 45, was born into a racing family in Racine, Wisconsin. Her father, Clyde Rice, is a former trainer who operates a training center in Ocala, Florida, and her mother, Jean, and brothers Wayne, Brian, and Curt are all involved in the horse industry.
After a two-year stint at Penn State University, where she was majoring in computer science, Rice became an assistant trainer and exercise rider for her father. She started her own stable in New Jersey in 1987 and won her first race with Contraboss at Garden State on June 3, 1987. She relocated to New York in 1991 and is currently a board member of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.
Among the top horses trained by Rice have been grade I winners City Zip, Lucifer’s Stone, Things Change, and Tenski.
In advertisements in trade publications following this year’s Saratoga meet, Rice thanked her extensive list of clients for their support and also commented on winning the training title. She also expressed gratitude to fans, horsemen, jockeys, and agents for their encouragement.
“I am sincerely honored not only to be the leading trainer at the Saratoga meet but also to be the first woman to win a training title at historic Saratoga Racecourse,” she wrote. “The race for the leading trainer title was a lot fun and created much excitement and enthusiasm for the racing industry and I was proud to be a part of it.
“And let’s not forget the horses,” she continued. “These beautiful animals are what this great sport is all about! In addition, I want to congratulate trainer Todd Pletcher on a fine meet and applaud his professionalism; he is a true credit to the industry and it was fun competing with him for the title.”