09/02/2010 4:20PM

Rice could top win total from her historic 2009 meet


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. − Linda Rice won’t win her second straight Saratoga trainer’s title, but her 2010 season at Saratoga has been a success.

Rice entered the final five days of racing here with 18 winners from 72 starters. That was good enough for second, two wins ahead of Chad Brown, who was 16 for 46. All trainers were left in the dust by Todd Pletcher, who on the strength of his deep 2-year-old division had a meet-best 30 winners from 108 starters.

Last year, Rice edged Pletcher, 20-19, to become the first woman to win a trainer’s title at a major race meet. Rice had an excellent chance to equal or surpass her win total from last year.

“It’s been a good meet for me, maybe not quite as good as last year, even though I may wind up with the same number of wins,” Rice said Thursday. “As I said earlier in the meet, I didn’t expect to win the meet again. It was great that if I got that close that I was actually able to get it done last year. This year, I was hoping to finish in the top five. If I could hold on for second by the end of the meet, I think that would be great.’’

Rice has horses entered in five races on Saturday’s card, including a quartet of turf sprinters in the $70,000 Lena Spencer Stakes, which kicks off the 11-race program. Rice is unlikely to run all four, making her unable to duplicate her 1-2-3-4 finish from the 2008 Mechanicville Stakes. She said she plans to at least run Canadian Ballet and Karakorum Elektra.

Canadian Ballet lost her first two starts this year but rebounded with a win in the Jenny Wade Handicap at Penn National on July 30. Rice explained that she equipped Canadian Ballet with glue-on shoes for her first two starts this year to address foot issues. With the shoes, Rice said, Canadian Ballet may not have been able to get hold of the turf. She took them off for the Jenny Wade, and Canadian Ballet returned to form.

“Was it the shoes for sure? I don’t know,” Rice said. “But she did run better last time.”

While Canadian Ballet figures to be up on the pace, Rice said she expects Karakorum Elektra to come from off of it.

“We need a closer in the race,” said Rice, adding that she wasn’t sure if she was going to run Ahvee’s Destiny or Lady Rizzi.

Pletcher has the horse to beat in Rose Catherine, who is 4 for 4 in turf sprints.

Other contenders in the Lena Spencer include Broken Dreams, Lookalike, and Stormandaprayer, who worked a swift half-mile in 46.40 seconds over the Oklahoma turf course on Aug. 30.

My Princess Jess gets some relief

My Princess Jess, who has started in 13 consecutive graded stakes, takes a drop in class when she runs in Saturday’s $70,000 Addison Mallery, an overnight stakes going a mile over the inner turf.

My Princess Jess, who won the Grade 2 Lake George here at 3 and the Grade 3 Beaugay at 4, comes off a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Diana, in which she encountered no early pace.

“I tried to stretch her out in the Diana, and they crawled around there,” trainer Barclay Tagg said.

With Be Fair, Awesome Grannie, C.S. Silk, and perhaps Solo Piano in the field, the pace should be more appropriate for My Princess Jess.