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Preakness 2013: Rosie Gives Mylute an Edge

Rosie Napravnik 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Alex Evers
Big stakes races tend to read like a Who’s Who of racing royalty, and this year’s Preakness Stakes is no exception. Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas saddles one third of the field for the 138th running of the second leg of the Triple Crown, and one third of the jockeys (Smith, Stevens, and Velazquez) are Hall of Famers themselves. Throw in the connections of Orb, Departing, and Oxbow, and you have yourself a full-fledged court. Despite the abundance of racing royalty to be found in this year’s Preakness, it is one of the “new kids on the block” that will likely have one of the biggest impacts on the race.
 
 
Hall of Fame statuses aside, the other six jockeys in the race are no slouches. They have combined for 436 wins from 2223 mounts (19.6 win percentage as of the morning of May 16) which is comparable to the figures put up by the three Hall of Fame jockeys (119 wins from 600 mounts for a win percentage of 19.8). In a field full of winning jockeys, Rosie Napravnik, the lone female rider in the race, stands out, but not necessarily for the obvious reason. Heading into Saturday, she boasts the highest win percentage of any of the jockeys in the field, is fifth overall in terms of purses earned, and is third overall in terms of races won. Oh yeah, did I mention that for all intents and purposes, Pimlico is her home track?
 
 
Across the plethora of sports, it is universally agreed that having home field advantage helps, and horse racing is no exception. With horse racing, though, home track advantage is usually spoken of in terms of the horse and not necessarily the rider, but in this case, I’m talking about the rider and not the horse. Rosie began her riding career at Pimlico in 2005, winning her first race with her very first mount, Ringofdiamonds. She went on to win multiple riding titles at the historic track and finished second to Julien Leparoux for the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in 2006. 
 
 
Napravnik will be just the third female jockey to have a mount in the Preakness, but she’s no stranger to historic milestones. In 2011, she piloted Pants On Fire to an 11th place finish in that year’s Kentucky Derby, surpassing the previous best finish by a woman in the first leg of the Triple Crown. The very next year she became the first female jockey to ever win the Kentucky Oaks when she and the aptly named Believe You Can prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Broadway’s Alibi. This year she teamed up with Mylute, who she will also ride in the Preakness, to run 5th in the Kentucky Derby, bettering her own mark for best finish by a woman in that race.
 
 
Circling back to Pimlico brings us back to the home track advantage. Despite what statistics show, the prevailing myth concerning Pimlico has been that it is a tight-turned, speed favoring track. That is a discussion I will not get into, but regardless of the circumference or bias, one thing is for certain, Pimlico is a track with which Rosie Napravnik is very familiar. That familiarity can only serve to help her and Mylute when they break from post position five, the same post position Mylute had in the Risen Star and Jean Lafitte, on Saturday. Home track advantage isn’t everything, especially if your mount is inferior to the favorite, but it does help. Considering that Mylute, out of all the Derby contenders returning to take another shot at Orb, finished closest to that rival in the Derby, maybe, just maybe Rosie’s familiarity with the track will give them an edge to at least finish second to, if not beat, the Derby winner. 

 

What the Nation is saying about Preakness 2013: Rosie Gives Mylute an Edge...

How is Rosie a good fit for Mylute? Previously when the two started working out together, Mylute used to perk up with her. He has toned that down now. In a race like this, the smaller the field the more tactical riding. Aaron Gryder understands pace and tactics better than Rosie does
I think Rosie is/has been a good fit for Mylute as well; and of course she's historically a good fit at that track.
I like Gryder, but Rosie is a good fit for Mylute.
It don't matter Rosie is cuter.
Rosie gives Mylute less of an edge... Gryder would be much better
Go Rosie, Go!
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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Since joining Horse Racing Nation as a contributing blogger, Ashley writes as frequently as possible as the Florida Filly. Though she mainly covers racing in South Florida, Ashley also blogs about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offers her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. Most recently, Ashley was selected to participate in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley lives in Central Georgia with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. When she is not covering the races, Ashley works with insurance claims, a job she is able to do from home in order to spend as much time as possible with her family. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is passionate about football, reading, and history and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.