01/04/2008 12:00AM

Trainer Don Rice seriously injured


Don Rice, an eight-time training champion at Tampa Bay Downs, remained unconscious and in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Friday afternoon after being injured at his central Florida farm on Thursday.

Rice, 72, apparently was injured as he was entering a paddock at his Antigo Farm near Anthony, Fla., on Thursday morning, according to his daughter, Paula Williams. It is believed that a horse exiting the paddock broke through the gate, which then fell on Rice. The horse may also have fallen on Rice, Williams said. Rice suffered a head injury and was airlifted to Shands.

Rice won won his Tampa Bay training titles between the 1994-95 meet and the 2004-05 season. He set the record for wins at a Tampa meet during in 2001-02 when he won 44 races.

Since beginning his training career in 1971, Rice has saddled 1,403 winners from 10,707 starters. His horses have earned $6.4 million in purses. Rice cut back his operation in recent years and only won a single race in 2007. He currently owns several horses stabled with trainer M. Anthony Ferraro at Tampa Bay Downs.