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Woman trainer looks to polish off Chrome in Preakness

California Chrome arrives at Pimlico in preparation for the 139th Preakness.
California Chrome arrives at Pimlico in preparation for the 139th Preakness.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Wisconsin native Linda Rice will attempt to become this first woman to train a Preakness winner with 20-1 shot Kid Cruz this Saturday. Although 14 have tried since 1968, only Nancy Alberts came close with second place finisher Magic Weisner in 2002. Still, Rice (who now lives in Floral Park on Long Island) is the country’s most “distinguished” female trainer, having saddled more than 1,200 winners to date, including Kid Cruz, who has come from far back to take command of his last two races, both at Maryland tracks The first was the 1-1/16-mile Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico by 3-1/2 lengths, and then the 1-1/8- mile Private Terms at Laurel by 4-lengths.

Named for Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, Kid Cruz may not have his namesake’s talent for quick acceleration out of the gate, but he has proved he can run. And even if the one-time claimer (who finished 7th in his career debut on the turf) can’t beat favored California Chrome, his owners at Black Swan Stable (which bought him, sold him and bought him back), hope this son of 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid, can bring home a big paycheck.

“Going from a maiden claimer to a Triple Crown race adds a little excitement,” stated Rice. “Sort of rags to riches.”

Kid Cruz will break from the 7th slot this Saturday, and is currently at odds of 20-1. In the meantime, Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome will leave the gate from post position 3, and is the 305 odds on favorite to take the second jewel in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. The remaining horses in the field for the Preakness are: Dynamic Impression, post position 1 at 12-1; General a Rod, post 2 at 15-1; Ring Weekend, post position 4, 20-1; Bayern, post position 5, 10-1; Ria Antonia, post 6, 30-1; Social Inclusion, gate 8, 5-1; Pablo de Monte, gate 9, 20-1; and Ride on Curlin, post position 10, 10-1.