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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

LINDA RICE HAS LICENSE REVOKED FOR GAINING IMPROPER ACCESS TO RACING ENTRIES

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., May 17, 2021 — Trainer Linda Rice has had her license revoked by the New York State Gaming Commission for three years and fined $50,000, it was announced on the NYSGC Twitter account.

She can reapply for a license after three years.

The process took nearly four years to complete after Daily Racing Form first reported that Rice allegedly made payments to NYRA officials in order to obtain race entry information in 2018.  

Rice is in her 36th year as a trainer and was the first and only woman to earn a leading trainer title at the Saratoga race meet when she saddled 20 winners at the storied session in 2009.

Rice, the daughter of legendary horseman Clyde Rice, also won or shared in three other training titles at NYRA circuit tracks, two at Aqueduct and one at Belmont. She has saddled over 2,000 career winners.

The revocation came resulting from incidents of “computer trespassing” in which Rice offered monetary rewards to two racing department employees, NYRA clocker Stephen Foster and jockey agent Mike Gonzalez, for information on race entrants.

Specifically, Rice was charged with gaining “regular, continual, and improper access” in advance, the names of horses running in a number of races, giving her an illegal competitive advantage.

This story is continuing to evolve…

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21 Responses

  1. Yikes – sounds extremely shady and obviously a clear violation of racing regulations. I’m trying to come up with some type of defense that would be half way plausible and can’t.

    In this one, the betting public isn’t so directly hurt the way they are with drug cheats. But isn’t anyone character flawed enough to pull this stunt very clearly capable of doing other things to gain an unfair edge?

  2. And the best news today by far: The Met Mile won’t be ruined by Charlatan’s presence

  3. Unfortunately and to my dismay, I see an avalanche beginning to develop that will not stop. Whatever insiders knew, will become public eventually and will not be pretty.
    Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the Sport of Kings” that brought so much to so many, go down hard.
    I hope Racing can survive this.
    Sad.

    1. I feel your pain. And, yes, it could get ugly, but Tim Layden said it best of broken rules and lack of accountability in the sport in his magazine piece on the NBC telecast. “This must all stop.”

  4. Linda was hardly the only trainer to receive such information from the NYRA racing office over the years, but the systematic nature of her approach, and ultimate lack of discretion, has obviously cost her dearly.

    I feel no sympathy for her at all, and believe that the PR hits that the game is currently enduring are a small price to pay for a serious cleansing.

  5. At what point in her 36 year career did she find it necessary to prostitute herself for more? Same question for Baffert? Time has a way of evaluating a persons worth. For some there is just never enough to be had. Sad time for the sport, and all the honest journeyman still involved in it.

    1. Preaching to the choice, McD. I feel badly for all hard-working horsemen who play by the rules…

  6. “But isn’t anyone character flawed enough to pull this stunt very clearly capable of doing other things to gain an unfair edge?”

    “At what point in her 36 year career did she find it necessary to prostitute herself for more? Same question for Baffert?”

    As you both imply, this kind of behavior doesn’t appear out of the blue. Though Rice and Baffert are not remotely equivalent, as the latter built his wildly successful career at least partly on a foundation of PED use, while the former has only won at >21% five times over the span of a 34 year career. As an interesting aside, three of those five years were during 2016-19, when Rice was presumably benefitting substantially from the inside information.

    1. Yes good points – who knows how far back Rice was angle shooting? A lot of her success has to be called into question now.

      This is a short term embarrassment for racing, but very healthy for the long term sustainability of the sport. I hope NYRA keeps their foot on the gas, and continues to weed out bad actors.

  7. I do not know what to say. Never thought there would be such a severe penalty. I am sure people who know much more than me about the inner workings of the industry could gives us an clue as to why such a severe penalty. The penalty does seem harsh when we see trainers continually get away with miracle performances. In a sport where you can’t even question a jockey’s ride without being called out by the industry, nothing seems to make sense. The industry refuses to fix the tote problem which is really distrustful and then suspends trainers, after doing nothing for years. Is this new leadership or just trying to make a splash and back to business as usual ?

    1. All valid concerns. In no particular order, think these actions are more than mere window dressing and PR. The game is getting serious–and isn’t that about time? If racing and the Feds do their job, it’s not going to be pretty.

      Don’t think the penalty if too harsh, when you consider–although not formalized by language–this was “tampering with a sporting event.”

      And can we please remember that Rick Dutrow, because his words embarrassed some of the game’s higher ups and had evidence planted on him and all the non-process that went with that–not to mention the Queens DA thought he lied under Oath–he got 10 years, essentially a lifetime ban in his most productive years, and even after a steward testified on his behalf that he was innocent of the charge, and even after the chain of custody was invalidated–please don’t get me started!

  8. JP–
    Linda Rice’s infraction certainly deserved punishment, but it seems to me that a 3 year suspension is overly severe for an “insider trading” violation which did not in any way relate to the care of horses entrusted to her or negatively impact bettors who wagered on or against her horses. Hopefully the Gaming Commission will mete out rigorous sanctions for trainers who are guilty of causing risk or harm to their horses.
    Glad to see that NYRA took action with respect to Baffert, but I imagine he will be pursuing legal recourse to seek an injunction against NYRA’s ban. So I imagine this isn’t over yet……

    1. In this game Chuck, nothing is over even when it’s over. What should the penalty be for “tampering with a sporting event.” Bettors could have adjusted by studying the past performances. But what window does her competition take their tickets to? Without her in the race that she might have won by correctly assessing the talent of the competition, her rivals did not have that luxury.

      At the early stage of any punitive process, officials and administrators love to send “a message.” Someone has to pay a severe price. In this case, it was Linda Rice, who was a dinner gust in my home a long time ago in Saratoga–right next door, Chuck, and I’m close with some of her assistants, present and past. It’s sad, indeed, but it is what it appears to be…

  9. Imagine, not the Beatles song, that it Only Took Four Years to come to a decision ! Just like all types of “insiders info,” by the time the hammer comes down is way too late and usually a slap on the wallet But this punishment seems severe…

  10. Skip, lots of people feel the same way on this thread. What no one is considering, perhaps, is that there’s far more that may be laying beneath the surface. Eventually, the truth will out. Like L’affaire Baffert, more to come.

    Speaking of that, how about the MS split sample that everyone’s waiting for hasn’t left Kentucky yet!

  11. John,
    While not a Dutrow lover,it is hard to refute the facts. It is also hard to imagine why some of the participants against Dutrow are not themselves in jail or banned from their participation in racing.A lot of this sounds like the baseball steroid scandal.How many lively hoods were destroyed by this cheating ? Some how the honest trainers must do something,but what ? If the game is going to get cleaned up a lot of guys at the top besides Baffert will probably be affected.

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