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Napravnik Returns to Santa Anita Park

Rosie Napravnik 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Alex Evers
Female riding sensation Rosie Napravnik returns Saturday to Santa Anita, the scene of one of her greatest triumphs, where she rode Shanghai Bobby to victory in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for Todd Pletcher last November.

On Saturday, Napravnik rides Joyful Victory for trainer Larry Jones in the Zenyatta Stakes, one of five scheduled mounts that day.

Joyful Victory was second under Napravnik in the Grade I Zenyatta last September at Santa Anita. Napravnik returned March 16 to win the Grade I Santa Margarita Invitational on Joyful Victory by four lengths.

“Rosie is a special rider,” Jones said following the Santa Margarita win. “It’s a gift from God, what she’s got. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she’s been anointed with talent. She is one of the brightest stars in the game, I can assure you.”



Paco Gonzalez is in no hurry to retire, or un-retire, for that matter. The 67-year-old former force on the Southern California training circuit hasn’t saddled a horse in earnest in more than a year, since July 15, 2012, so it’s been written that he has retired, or not, ever since.

“I love horses and I’ve been around them all my life, but I’m not ready to come back,” Gonzalez said during a visit to Clockers’ Corner last Friday.  “But I wouldn’t say that I’ve ‘officially’ retired, either. You never can tell.”

Meantime, Paco has been spending time with family and friends in his native Mexico.

He trained privately for John Toffan and the late Trudy McCaffery more than 10 years ago, winning the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap with Free House and many other stakes with the likes of Bien Bien, Came Home, Del Mar Dennis and Pacific Squall.




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