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Aqueduct: Rice aims to keep hot streak going
By David Grening
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Only Mother Nature seems capable these days of cooling off trainer Linda Rice, who entered the weekend having won seven of the last 11 races in which she has participated at Aqueduct.
A nor’easter forced Aqueduct to cancel Friday’s card, keeping two of Rice’s runners in the barn. On Saturday, she was scheduled to run two horses, including her top sprinter N.F.’s Destiny. On Sunday, Rice has two horses in both the fourth and seventh races.
In the seventh, a multi-conditioned race in which six of the eight horses are in for a $50,000 claiming price, Rice has the uncoupled entry of Decisive Move and Blue Creek, both of whom appear capable of continuing her winning ways.
Blue Creek, a son of Broken Vow, makes his second start off the claim for Rice while seeking his third consecutive victory overall. Decisive Move makes his first start off the claim, although Rice made that claim last September.
Rice took Blue Creek for $20,000 on Jan. 31, a day he came from off the pace to win by 1 1/4 lengths. In his first start for Rice, Blue Creek rallied to get up over Straight Fax on the wire after bumping twice with another horse in upper stretch.
“The horse appears to want to be a come-from-behind sprinter, from what I’ve seen,” said Rice, who marked her 49th birthday Thursday with a win and two seconds. “It looks like he might get better with experience. There looks to be quite a bit of speed in the race.”
One of the speed horses is Decisive Move, who was a productive turf sprinter last summer for Tony Dutrow. Rice took Decisive Move for $35,000 at Belmont last Sept. 20, a day he finished fourth after setting strong early fractions in an off-the-turf race.
Decisive Move, a son of Awesome Again, needed time off and has since been gelded, according to Rice.
“He’s a big, heavy horse,” Rice said. “I thought that would help him. I thought he’d like the inner track because he’s got a lot of speed. I’m hoping for a good return.”
Decisive Move, who breaks from post 7 under Ruben Silvera, is likely to mix it up early with P J’s Magical Wink, who drops in for $50,000 after running fourth in the Grade 3 Toboggan, as well as Tightend Touchdown and possibly Hannibal Lecter.
Stonecoldsteamer is making his first start since Dec. 16 and first for the meet’s leading trainer Rudy Rodriguez. The New York-bred is starting under the allowance conditions of the race, having never beaten open company. Two starts back, he won a second-level New York-bred allowance.
Demon’s Deputy enters the race off a win for maiden claiming $40,000. Three starts back he finished second to Saturday’s Charm for maiden $50,000. Saturday’s Charm was beaten a nose by Comma to the Top in the Grade 3 Tom Fool on March 2.
This lady is hot in more ways than one. What a beautiful young horsewoman Ms. Rice has grown up to become. She learned her trade well and seems to bring them over ready to run. Her Aqueduct barn is doing much better than her Florida division it seems a direct result of her "hands on" approach. I am not sure if she trains them all to be speedy or if it is just the way Velasquez rides them all but they always seemed well prepared and run accordingly. Great work Linda Rice, make hay while the sunshines ( or snow falls ) Spring is coming.
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