When Rosie Napravnik ventures to Pimlico Race Course to ride Bayern in next Saturday’s 139th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1), the 26-year-old riding star can expect an emotional homecoming.
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
familiar face will not be there to greet her. Trainer Dickie Small, who
gave her a leg up on her very first winner, passed away on April 4.
be a void at Pimlico,” said Napravnik, who guided the Small-trained
Ringofdiamonds to victory at Pimlico in her first career ride on June 9,
2005. “When I ride in big races and do well, he’s one of the first
people I think of. I know how proud of me he would be.”
presence will be missed next weekend, but Napravnik can expect a lot of
support from family and friends at Pimlico as she attempts to realize a
schoolgirl’s dream of someday winning the Preakness Stakes, as well as
the Kentucky Derby.
would be just as special. It’s a Triple Crown race. It’s my home track
with all my friends and family around. We’d have half the grandstand
cheering for us – that’s what would make it special,” said Napravnik,
who began galloping horses for Small and trainer Holly Robinson at
Pimlico while attending Hereford High School in Baltimore County.
would feel like – if I was able to ride the winner of the Preakness –
that I was doing it for everybody who got me started in Maryland and who
gave me the opportunities that led to Fair Grounds, Kentucky and
Saratoga and having a horse in the Preakness.”
who finished third aboard Mylute in last year’s Preakness Stakes,
expressed a lot of confidence in the abilities of Bayern, despite his
disqualification from first to second in the Derby Trial at Churchill
Downs on April 26.
out of the 1 hole, we had to play a forced hand and go to the lead and
it was deeper on the inside of the track. He still ran a good race. He
was a game horse,” Napravnik said. “The DQ, I don’t have much to say
about that. He won the race and had to be very gritty to do it.”
Napravnik’s confidence in Bayern soared during a subsequent five-furlong workout in 58 1/5 seconds at Churchill on May 5.
work was absolutely incredible. He really impresses me in the morning. I
was super-excited about him for the Derby Trial and if we’re able to
have a little more options in positioning, I think he’ll be better
around two turns than the one-turn mile,” she said of Bayern, who
galloped 1 ½ miles at Churchill Saturday morning and is scheduled to
ship to Pimlico on Wednesday.
has become a key player on the national racing stage in recent years,
having dominated the Fair Grounds jockey standings three straight years
and riding many Grade 1 winners, including Untapable in the Kentucky
Oaks (G1) at Churchill on May 2. Yet, the excitement of riding in major
stakes such as the Preakness Stakes hasn’t waned.
don’t think the big races will ever be old hat. Certainly, I don’t
think the Triple Crown becomes old hat for anybody,” she said. “With the
experience of riding in these races more and more often, I’m not
overwhelmed by it and can be more prepared each time and know more what
she arrives at Pimlico next weekend for yet another big race, she’ll
pause to reflect back on the day Dickie Small gave her a leg up on her
“I didn’t know if I’d be terrible or successful or somewhere in between,” she said, “but it’s really been the ride of my life.”
In Other Preakness News:
St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Ring Weekend
breezed six furlong in 1:13 1/5 at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton,
Md. Saturday morning in preparation for a possible start in the
galloped out a mile in 1:41. That’s what I was most pleased about: how
he galloped out,” said trainer Graham Motion, whose Preakness prospect
was ridden by longtime assistant and exercise rider Alice Clapham.
Weekend, who captured the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) and finished second in
the Calder Derby, missed the Kentucky Derby due to a fever. The gelded
son of Tapit missed a few days of training but has been training well
since the setback.
“So far, so good,” said Motion, who will continue to monitor Ring Weekend’s training before committing to the Preakness.
Trainer Wesley Ward was especially upbeat Saturday as he talked about Pablo Del Monte’s six-furlong breeze in 1:12 1/5 at Keeneland, the colt’s final workout for the 139th Preakness Stakes.
“He’s looking great. Couldn’t be doing any better,” Ward said.
a change of plans, Pablo Del Monte, who finished third in the Blue
Grass Stakes (G1), will be shipped from Lexington, Ky. to Baltimore on
Monday rather than on Wednesday. He will be one of five Preakness
candidates arriving at Pimlico that day.
Jeffrey Sanchez, who will ride Pablo Del Monte in the Preakness, was
aboard for the breeze, which was done in company with High Wire Kitten.
Pablo Del Monte’s split times were :12 1/5, :24 4/5, :36 3/5 and :48
4/5, and he galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.
High Wire Kitten, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, is headed to Baltimore to run in the Hilltop Stakes on Friday.
“She has been working very, very well. It’s a good workmate for him,” Ward said.
High Wire Kitten and Pablo Del Monte have breezed together for about a month.
weeks out from the Blue Grass we put her six or seven lengths in front
and it was tough on him to catch her, and he did,” Ward said. “John
Velazquez worked him that day. I think he ran so hard in the Blue Grass
that it had an effect on him, but now he’s really getting to her. And
she’s working very, very good; she working three-quarters of a mile in
:12 herself. And they are finishing heads up.
everything you’d want to see in the last two works. He’s coming into
this race as good as he could possibly be and doing everything right. I
really think that Mr. Ramsey’s filly is going to run a big race in the
said he feels good about how Pablo Del Monte is doing a week out from
the Preakness Stakes. He made the decision to move up the shipping date
by a couple of days because the Monday flight is leaving from
Lexington’s airport, which is very close to Keeneland.
“Everything is flawless right now,” he said. “Everything is actually perfect.”
Rontos Racing Stable Corp.’s Social Inclusion
visited the racetrack extra early Saturday morning for his morning
exercise. Training hours were limited to one hour between 5 and 6 a.m.
in order to accommodate “Canter for a Cure,” a fundraising event for
breast cancer research that ran between 6 and 11 a.m.
went out at 5. We were happy to do it, ‘Canter for a Cure’ is such a
good cause,” said Rontos Racing’s Ron Sanchez. “He was full of energy.
He really likes the track. He galloped a mile and a half and came back
with good energy. He was full of himself. He’s settled in at Pimlico
reported that Social Inclusion, who finished third in the Wood Memorial
(G3) after winning his first two races impressively at Gulfstream Park,
is scheduled to gallop again on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and breeze on
Luis Contreras, who has retained the mount aboard the Manny
Azpurua-trained colt, is scheduled to be at Pimlico for Social
Inclusion’s breeze Monday.
Kentucky Derby (G1) winner California Chrome
made an earlier-than-usual appearance on the track at Churchill Downs
Saturday for his morning exercise: a gallop of 1¾ miles under exercise
rider Willie Delgado.
wanted to go out before the track got chewed up,” assistant trainer
Alan Sherman said of California Chrome, who hit the track at 6:30, about
20 minutes earlier than his norm. “He has been on a ‘wet-fast’ track
before, but I don’t know if he has been on a sealed track.”
The track had been sealed Friday evening after the 10-race program.
Lehr, Senior Director of Track Surfaces, said Churchill Downs received
two inches of rain after Friday’s final race that went off around 7:30
Chrome backtracked to the eighth-pole in a light rain, but by the time
he had finished, the rain had increased in intensity.
probably haven’t had this much rain (in California) all year,” said
Sherman, son of trainer Art Sherman. “I know we sure could use it.”
California Chrome is scheduled to leave for Baltimore on Monday.
are supposed to load at the barn at 10 o’clock Monday morning and the
plane leaves Lexington at 12:30,” Sherman said. “He will train that
morning and then go.”
Maryland-based jockey Julian Pimentel will ride Kid Cruz in
the Preakness Stakes for trainer Linda Rice. It will be Pimentel’s
second start in Maryland’s signature race; he was up on Norman
Asbjornson, who was 11th in 2011.
very exciting to be in those kind of races,” Pimentel said, “I’m really
looking forward to it. It was a great experience back then. I’m pretty
sure this is going to be the same.”
33, rode Kid Cruz to off-the-pace victories in the Private Terms on
March 8 at Laurel and the Federico Tesio on April 19 at Pimlico.
a really nice horse,” Pimentel said. “I’ve ridden him twice and he’s
won both times. He did it going away pretty good. We’ve got a race on
the racetrack, which should help. It’s a tough race, but he’s tough.”
Kid Cruz is scheduled to train at Belmont Park on Monday morning and ship to Pimlico later in the day.
John Oxley’s Illinois Derby (G3) winner Dynamic Impact
was scheduled for a workout Saturday morning in preparation for next
Saturday’s Preakness, but weather forced assistant trainer Norman Casse
to call an audible and scrub the work.
Before the track opened at 6 o’clock, Casse stood in a light rain as tractors floated the track.
am afraid this will be the last day we will be able to work,” said
Casse, son of trainer Mark Casse. “There is more rain coming and who’s
to say it won’t be worse later today or tomorrow?”
In the end, Casse decided to wait a day and instead have Dynamic Impact gallop 1½ miles under exercise rider Marco Cano at 6:30.
lot of my horses didn’t go out and I am happy he at least got to
gallop,” Casse said. “We are prepared to go tomorrow and if not, it is
not a big deal and we can go Monday.”
Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia,
sixth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in her most recent start, visited the
starting gate and then galloped 1½ miles under Maurice Sanchez.
had blinkers on in the Oaks and we are going to change equipment for
her next race; whatever that will be,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “She
stood in the gate with blinkers off, which is required for an equipment
change. We are still up in the air about the Preakness. She will work
Sunday or Monday, depending on the weather.”
Daniel Dougherty’s seventh-place Kentucky Derby (G1) finisher Ride On Curlin galloped two miles on a sealed sloppy track under Bryan Beccia after the morning renovation break.
trainer Billy Gowan looking on from the six-furlong gap, Ride On Curlin
picked up the pace his second time around the track.
“I loved the way he trained this morning; he was very strong,” Gowan said.
Beccia, who has been the colt’s regular exercise rider since the first of January, was similarly enthused.
second mile was the most aggressive he has been with me all year,”
Beccia said. “(The Derby) didn’t take anything out of him. I think he is
better now than he was going in.”
Ride On Curlin will return to easy mile gallops the next two mornings before leaving for Pimlico Monday.
General a Rod
will run in the colors of Skychai Racing in the Preakness. Starlight
Racing and Skychai Racing purchased the colt from its original owner J.
Armando Rodriquez a few days before the Kentucky Derby.