Licence revoked: top female trainer Linda Rice guilty of ‘improper and corrupt conduct’

Horse Racing Linda Rice
Linda Rice: found to have paid racing office staff in exchange for entry information. Photo: NYRA/Coglianese

By Jon Lees

USA: The most successful female trainer in the US has had her licence revoked for three years and has been fined $50,000 after being found guilty of ‘improper and corrupt conduct’.

Linda Rice, 57, has trained more than 2,000 winners over a 34-year career, securing seven New York training titles including at Saratoga where in 2009 when she became the first woman in the modern era to top the rankings at a major circuit.

Rice had been under investigation by the New York State Gaming Commission since 2018 when it was alleged she had paid officials in the racing office in exchange for information about what horses would be entered in races, potentially giving her a competitive advantage.

Among the evidence uncovered were faxes and emails from office staff, sent between 2011 and 2015, containing the names and form of horses which had been received before the declaration deadline. Rice denied the charges.

The case was heard during 2020 and the hearing officer’s report presented to the NYSGC in April, which commissioners voted 5-0 to endorse.

“The report concluded that Ms. Rice’s misconduct involved receiving and request for confidential entry information in overnight races was intentional, serious and extensive,” the Gaming Commission said.

“It also concludes that her actions constituted improper and corrupt conduct in relation to racing in violation of NYCRR 4042.1 and were inconsistent with and detrimental to the best interests of horse racing.

“The Hearing Officer recommended the Commission impose a fine of $50,000 and immediately revoke her license to participate in thoroughbred horse racing and restricting her ability to apply for a new license for a period of no less than three years.”

Rice has trained a total of 2,107 winners. Among her best horses were the Eclipse Award winner La Verdad, City Zip, and Palace.

The trainer subsequently announced to DRF.com that she will appeal the decision.

• View the entries the New York State Gaming Commission website

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