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
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.
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.
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.