I recently posted my Top 10 favorite jockeys of all-time. It so happens that all the jockeys on the list no longer ride ... just showing my age I guess. If I had included current riders, you may very well have seen the name Anna “Rosie” Napravnik. Although short in years, Rosie has become tall in stature with many racefans, including yours truly. At 23-years-old the native of New Jersey is enjoying her best season to date, ranking in the Top 10 in the nation in both wins, with 131, and in earnings with over $4.6 million. Unfortunately her ascension up the ranks of America's top riders took a nasty tumble yesterday.
Napravnik suffered a broken left wrist when her mount in the eighth race at Delaware Park, Naseeb, broke down less than halfway through the five-furlong turf sprint. Sadly, the 5-year-old mare had to be euthanized due to the severity of her injury. As for Rosie, she was thrown from the injured horse and hit the firm Delaware turf hard. Taken to a nearby hospital, Rosie underwent surgery this morning, and will be unable to ride for an unspecified amount of time.
This is far from the first serious injury for the talented young jockey. In past spills she has suffered compression fractures in her back, a broken leg, collarbone, and a break to the same wrist that was injured yesterday. Clearly racing is not for the faint of heart, and Rosie has proven to be as tough as they come.
Toughness aside, there are several reasons why I like Rosie. She was raised within 20 miles of where I grew up, and she is the rider of two of my current favorite horses, in Pants on Fire, and St. John's River. Unfortunately the first female jockey to win a riding title at the Fair Grounds, which she did this year, or the current leader of the Delaware Park jockey race, will miss some big races on those two, as St. John's River runs in Saturday's Delaware Oaks and Pants On Fire is expected to run in the million dollar Haskell Invitational at the end of the month. Neither horse will have the services of Rosie, meaning their tasks probably just became a bit tougher.
See how much I like her? Maybe it's just because you don't see a lot of female jockeys take it to the boys quite like Rosie does. Whether you are as big a fan of hers as me, or not, please join me in wishing her a speedy recovery. Get Well Soon, Rosie!