Dan and Ada Rice
Danada Forest Preserve is the former estate of commodity trader Daniel Rice and his wife, Ada, racehorse enthusiasts who bred champion Thoroughbreds.
In 1928, the Rices purchased Danada Farm, a working farm complemented by apple orchards, wheat and corn fields, and grazing lots for livestock. In 1943, Dan Rice purchased eight Thoroughbreds for his wife’s pursuit in horse racing, and the Ada L. Rice Stable was born.
Every year, the Wheaton farm served as a training facility for 20 to 40 yearlings. A 26-stall Kentucky-style barn, with center stalls and an indoor track, allowed trainers to work horses even in inclement weather. The Rices’ staff also used the 0.5-mile regulation racetrack on the west side of Naperville Road to condition yearlings that arrived from a sister farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
In 1965, the Rices made their mark at the Kentucky Derby with a bay colt named Lucky Debonair, which jockey Willie Shoemaker rode across the wire in a neck-to-neck finish for a first-place win and a $112,000 purse. One year later, Advocator, another bay colt and Rice Thoroughbred, placed second in the Derby.
Ada maintained her equestrian interests until 1975, when, after her husband’s death, she sold the farm’s remaining horses.
Watch the Friends of Danada's video on Danada history.