07/28/2010 1:15PM

Rice looking for Canadian Ballet to bring it home in Jennie Wade


New York trainer Linda Rice returns to her roots Friday night when she will send out Canadian Ballet in the $100,000 Jennie Wade Handicap at Penn National Race Course.

The Jennie Wade, scheduled for five furlongs on the turf, goes as race 3 on a nine-race card that includes a pair of $75,000 supporting stakes, the Red Carpet and the Femme Fatale. Friday’s program, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, is a prelude to a three-stakes package on Saturday night, highlighted by the 38th running of the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup.

Rice, 46, was born in Racine, Wisc., but grew up in Pennsylvania, where her father, Clyde Rice, was a longtime trainer at Penn National. He now operates a training center in Ocala, Fla. After two years at Penn State University, where she was majoring in computer science, Linda Rice became an assistant trainer and exercise rider for her father at Penn National before going out on her own in 1987. She has not started a horse at Penn National the last five years, according to DRF’s Formulator.

Canadian Ballet is a four-time stakes winner in turf sprints, including the $200,000 Turf Amazon at Philadelphia Park last September. She has been beaten a combined 11 lengths in two starts this year, however, and will be racing for the first time in more than two months.

Multiple stakes winner Libor Lady, visiting her seventh track in less than 13 months, is the 119-pound highweight in the field of nine fillies and mares. Trained by Mike Pino, Libor Lady, has raced in California, Kentucky, Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania since July 2009. She won the $100,000 Satin n’ Lace at Presque Isle Downs last year and finished second in this season’s $100,000 Giant’s Causeway Stakes on April 17 at Keeneland.

The locally based Linnea merits respect on the basis of her 5-for-7 lifetime record in turf sprints. She has won four straight since being claimed for $20,000 in January at Sunland Park, but is moving up to face stakes company for the first time.

Sea Wind, 2 for 2 over Penn National’s turf course, and My Main Starr, a Maryland-based filly who is 2 for 3 on the grass, look like the prime contenders in the Red Carpet (race 2), a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

In the Femme Fatale (race 7), a six-furlong dirt sprint for 3-year-old fillies, several entrants look dangerous: Visavis, second in the Grade 3 Eight Belles on the Kentucky Derby undercard; Starlite Starbrite, coming off an 8 1/2-length victory that produced a Beyer Speed Figure of 96; Offlee Blessed, unbeaten in three starts; and Hyperlink, shortening up after a near-miss going two turns at Delaware Park.