by Karen M. Johnson
Trainer Linda Rice enjoyed a rare training feat at Aqueduct Nov. 11. Rice saddled the first three finishers in the $100,000 Fifth Avenue Division of the New York Stallion Stakes, which is restricted to the progeny of New York sires.
Canadian Ballet ($18.80) won the six-furlong dirt race for 2-year-old fillies by a half-length. The winner was followed under the wire by Sweet Bama Breeze, who was 15-1. The odds-on favorite, Noble Fire, finished a half-length behind the runner-up. The Rice trifecta returned $379. Combined, the Rice horses earned $90,000 in purse money.
The Rice runners were not coupled in the wagering and are campaigned by different owners. Canadian Ballet is owned by Obviously NY Stable, Sweet Bama Breeze by Patsy Symons, and Noble Fire by Eklektikos Stable.
“I enjoyed my three-way trifecta; it was fabulous,” Rice said Nov. 13. “Frankly, I was watching the race unfold and hoping for a good result for all of the horses, and it turned out that way.”
Rice noted it was a racing first for her stable. Though she has saddled the winner and runner-up before in a stakes, she said those horses were owned by the same person.
“I don’t usually like to run uncoupled entries, but these clients nominated these horses as weanlings to be eligible for the Stallion Stakes, and it would have been unjust not to have given each client and their horses the opportunity to run,” Rice said.
It’s unlikely Rice’s Fifth Avenue trio will butt heads again in the near future, as she has selected different races for their next starts.