Stakes are high for Rice in Riggs

May 28, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

Darci Rice, an apprentice from Delaware Park, recently defeated jockeys Pat Day and Chris McCarron, who finished 1-2 in the Preakness.

Beating the big-name riders -- in a turf allowance race on the day before the Preakness -- was a first for Rice. She guided Lady Bering to a $15.40 payoff.

Today Rice seeks another first at Pimlico Race Course when she tries for her initial Maryland stakes win in the $75,000 Riggs Handicap.

But it's not going to be easy. The race drew a full field of 14 starters, including Personal Draw, Majesty's Darby and Jodi's The Best, three well-regarded shippers from Belmont Park, as well as last year's winner, Gary Gumbo. Rice's mount, Tidemark, is a jumper who hasn't won a flat race in more than two years.

Orin France -- trainer Jonathan Sheppard's assistant trainer -- said yesterday that Tidemark was once a solid Group horse in England, but he faltered in U.S. flat races.

Then Sheppard, a Hall of Fame steeplechase trainer, took over.

"He took to jumping really well, and has won his last two starts," France said. . . . "It was decided, why not try him again on the flat?"

Tidemark's last win came at 2 1/4 miles over hurdles.

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