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Preakness 2013: Napravnik Hopes to Make History

Rosie Napravnik 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Alex Evers
Jockey Rosie Napravnik is in the midst of her first full meet at Churchill Downs, but will take a break from riding beneath the Twin Spires this weekend to head to Pimlico Race Course, where she achieved her first victory nearly eight years ago.
 
Napravnik, who turned 25 in February, is named on eight horses today (Friday) and five horses Saturday, highlighted by Mylute in Preakness 2013, the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown.
 
Saturday will mark one year since Napravnik’s last race at Pimlico, when she guided Wildcat’s Smile to a third-place finish in the Black-Eyed Susan (GII). In 2006, Napravnik swept the rider standings at all four meets at Pimlico and Laurel and finished second behind Julien Leparoux in the voting for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey.
 
“It would mean a lot to me (to win the Preakness) because it’s where I started,” Napravnik said. “I have a lot of friends and family there, and there are lots of people there who really got me started in my career. I’m very proud to go ride in the race and, if we could win, it would be even sweeter.”
 
Mylute enters the Preakness off a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) under Napravnik. It was the best finish ever in the Run for the Roses by a female jockey.
 
“I think he should improve off his race in the Derby,” Napravnik said. “He ran a great race that day. Hopefully we can get a good trip on Saturday.”
 
Napravnik left for Baltimore on Thursday night shortly after picking up her 12th win of the meet aboard Galloping Domino. She enters Friday ranked third in the Churchill Downs jockey standings behind Shaun Bridgmohan and Joel Rosario.
 
“The meet has been great,” Napravnik said. “I’ve done pretty well and made some new connections.”
 
Despite this being her first meet, Napravnik already has become quite popular with the fans. Rarely does she make it back to the Jockeys’ Room after a race without signing a few autographs and posing for a couple of pictures. Win or lose, fans line up after nearly every one of her races to meet her.
 
“It can get overwhelming at times when you’re busy and in a hurry, but it’s great,” Napravnik said. “I love to see people excited about the game. We (jockeys) try to do all we can and sign every autograph and give out a pair of goggles every now and then.”
 
Win or lose on Saturday, Napravnik won’t be hanging around Baltimore too long after the races. She is named on seven horses at Churchill Downs on Sunday, including Horned Frog in the first race. Post time for the first race Sunday is 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern).
 
 

 

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