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
Race Course, where she achieved her first victory nearly eight years
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
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
“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).