On the second Sunday of 2020, Linda Rice won her 2000th race as a trainer. Rice joins Kathleen O’Connell (2,127 wins) and Kim Hammond (2,280 wins) in the 2,000 wins female club.
These three women show that females can compete just as well as men in this male-dominated industry.
Rice offered the following statement about reaching the milestone:
“It’s exciting. These milestones are very meaningful. I remember getting my thousandth win at Belmont with a horse that my father owned, so to have one here at Aqueduct for Jon Clay of Alpha Delta, who is one of my great clients, is very exciting and rewarding.”
Rice worked for her father, Clyde Rice, before starting her solo training career. Clyde also trained horses with career marks of 3,207 starts, 484 wins, and $2,697,024 earnings.
She won racing titles in Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2017, and Winter 2019 at Aqueduct. She also won the Spring/Summer 2011 title at Belmont Park. Rice became the first female trainer to win a training title in New York in 2009 at Saratoga.
Her 2,000 career wins include 44 in graded stakes contests.
Currently, Rice has 10,726 starts and 2,000 first-place finishes. She also has 1,616 second-place finishes and 1,482 third-place finishes. Career earnings are $80,325,711.
Rice’s training career started in 1987 with 46 starts. Five first-place finishes in 1987 created earnings of $75,939.
From 1988 to 1999 Rice horses started between 82 and 190 races a year. Her horses broke the million-dollar mark in 1991, with $1,039,622. 1998 earnings landed $1,763,087 and 1999 reached $1,428,709.
Rice continued growing her business in the decade from 2000 to 2009. Her horses started 244 races to 441 races each year in the decade. She won over $2,000,000 four times in the decade and her lowest yearly win was $1,389,239.
Rice’s career really took off starting in 2010.
Here’s a list of starts, wins, and earnings each year since 2010.
Year Starts Wins Earnings
2010 482 80 $2,692,801
2011 536 83 $2,429,753
2012 627 76 $3,224,394
2013 489 102 $4,883.293
2014 507 92 $5,606,310
2015 489 100 $5,927,599
2016 492 136 $5,209,171
2017 664 166 $7,107,114
2018 606 130 $6,914,061
2019 660 145 $7,258,064
The top five horses in terms of earnings are:
- La Verdad – 25 starts, 16 first-place finishes and three second-place finishes. $1,563,200 in career earnings. La Verdad won the Eclipse Award for American Champions Female Sprint Horse in 2015. This marked the first horse Rice trained to win a year end championship award.
- Palace – 30 starts, 12 first-place finishes, seven second-place finishes, and five third-place finishes. $1,586,550 in career earnings.
- Voodoo Song – 23 starts, eight first-place finishes, four second-place finishes, and one third-place finish. $951,960 in career earnings.
- City Zip – 23 starts, nine first-place finishes, five second-place finishes, and four third-place finishes. $818,225 in career earnings.
- Kid Cruz – 25 starts, seven first-place finishes, five second-place finishes, and three third-place finishes. $792,985 in career earnings.
Linda Rice was born on March 7, 1964 in Racine, Wisconsin. She has three brothers who are also involved in thoroughbred horse racing. Her brother’s names are Bryan Rice, Curt Rice, and Wayne Rice. She became a board member of the New York Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association in 2002.
In a once in a lifetime event, Rice had the top four horses in the Mechanicsville Stakes at Saratoga on August 18, 2008.
Rice’s career earnings of $80,325,711 stack up well against the other two female trainers with 2,000 career wins. Kim Hammond’s career earnings are $18,659,503 in 15,010 starts. Kathleen O’Connell’s career earnings are $40,509,881 in 15,677 starts.