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Rice, Velasquez Win Big A Titles

The battle for the training title at Aqueduct Racetrack's spring meet came down to the final race on closing day, with favored Thisskysabeauty and jockey Cornelio Velasquez rallying through the stretch Sunday to give Linda Rice a 13-12 victory over Rudy Rodriguez.


Velasquez, who had already sewn up the jockey title, finished with 24 wins to take his second straight spring meet title. David Cohen was second with 20 victories and Eddie Castro third with 18.

Rice, who tied with David Jacobson for last year's spring title at the Big A, had taken a one-race lead heading into closing day after sending out four winners on Saturday. Rodriguez then tied it when Ezzy ($12.60) won race 5, but Thisskysabeauty ($7.00) prevailed by 3 ¼ lengths to give Rice her fourth overall and second outright title on The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit.

In 2009, Rice became the first woman to win a training title in New York when she beat Todd Pletcher by one race at Saratoga Race Course, and she also tied with Pletcher for the 2011 Belmont Park spring/summer title.

Drawing Away Stable was the meet's leading owner with seven wins, edging Mike Repole and Michael Dubb, who had six wins each.

Racing now moves to Belmont Park for the 56-day spring/summer meet that begins on Friday, April 27. The Grade 3, $150,000 Westchester on Saturday is the first of Belmont's 26 graded stakes worth $8.8 million, the centerpiece of which is the 114th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9.



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