08/31/2009 11:00PM

Rice ready with trio of contenders


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Linda Rice enters the final week of what has been a dream meeting with an excellent opportunity to win the 2009 Saratoga training title. And she may have as many as three legitimate chances to add to her win total in Wednesday's $70,000 Lena Spencer, an overnight stakes for fillies and mares scheduled to be run at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.


Rice, who began the last week of the meet in a battle with Todd Pletcher for leading trainer honors, entered Ahvee's Destiny, Karakorum Elektra, and Canadian Ballet and said it is possible she could run all three horses in Wednesday's feature. Of that trio, she said Karakorum Elektra would probably be the least likely to start.

"She prefers the sweeping turns of the Belmont course to this one," Rice said of Karakorum Elektra, whose last four victories have all come at Belmont.

Unlike Karakorum Elektra, Ahvee's Destiny loves the Saratoga turf course. Ahvee's Destiny survived an early pace battle before outlasting Smart and Fancy by a neck to win the . The victory was her fourth in five starts over the Spa turf.

Canadian Ballet finished a game second after opening a clear lead in early stretch in Woodbine's .

"She's been nursing a sore foot but she's okay to run," Rice said of Canadian Ballet. "That was a tough loss she took at Woodbine, but at least she got graded-stakes-placed."

Each of Rice's horses has enough speed to be on or near the lead.

"I encouraged Johnny [Velazquez] to be on the lead last time with Ahvee's Destiny because the field was void of speed, but she won the Mechanicsville from off the pace," Rice explained. "I've got three good riders on these horses and I'll let them decide what to do off the break."

While the Rice entry looks formidable, her horses face a tough test from several rivals in the well-matched lineup. The group includes the multiple stakes winner Smart and Fancy, Philadelphia Park invader Anofficerandalady, and Pretty Carina, who will make her first start since being transferred to Kiaran McLaughlin's barn earlier this year.