Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Alex Evers
Tonight on CBS, Rosie Napravnik will be featured on a segment of the ever popular news program, “60 Minutes”. The show is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. on the East Coast, (check local listings for airtimes in your area), and the feature on the popular rider will be hosted by correspondent Bob Simon. Heady stuff for the 25-year-old jockey, but Rosie deserves all the attention she is getting. She may have a pretty face, but making the mistake of taking her immense talent and will to win for granted, has long since come and gone. In a male dominated profession, only Joel Rosario has won more races this year, (Rosario has seven more victories in 48 more mounts at the time of writing) than the New Jersey native. Never afraid to tangle with the boys, Rosie is the only female rider to be found anywhere in the Top 50 of the list, and she also will be the only woman riding in next week’s Kentucky Derby. As a matter of fact, Napravnik is already on a short list of the most successful female jockeys in history. Her ascent up the ladder to be thought of as one of the very best riders in the nation has been rapid. Just less than three years ago, Rosie became the first female jockey to win a graded stakes race in the state of Texas when she rode Redding Colliery to victory in the Lone Star Park Handicap on Memorial Day of 2010. Eleven months later, she won her first million dollar race aboard Pants on Fire in the Louisiana Derby, while becoming the first woman to take Fair Grounds’ signature race. She would subsequently ride that same horse to a ninth place finish in the Kentucky Derby, bettering the previous best ever finish by a female rider in the Derby of 11th. After another million dollar win in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with the champion, Shanghai Bobby, and another dominant meet at Fair Grounds, Napravnik is ready to improve upon that 9th place finish in her Kentucky Derby debut. This year, Rosie will attempt to win the Derby with the unheralded but improving colt, Mylute. Once thought to be a monstrous long shot to be draped in roses on May 4, Mylute impressed with a strong runner-up finish to Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby. In that final prep for Louisville, the son of Midnight Lute rallied strongly on the outside, before losing a late battle to one of the Kentucky Derby favorites. Since arriving to Churchill Downs, the Tom Amoss charge has impressed in the morning. Because of those reasons, and in no small part to securing the riding services of Rosie Napravnik, his expected odds have plummeted.
I asked Rosie what it would mean to her if she could win the Run for the Roses, and she responded with youthful exuberance.
"The Kentucky Derby experience, win or lose, is so exhilarating. I can't imagine what it would feel like to win it, but I at least have the chance to find out!"
While Rosie may have yet to win America’s most prestigious race, she is no stranger to success on the big stage at Churchill Downs. After just missing in the 2011 Kentucky Oaks aboard long shot St. John’s River, she became the first female rider to win the prestigious three-year-old filly test in her next try. Napravnik thrilled her fans by winning the classic race aboard the Larry Jones trained Believe You Can on May 4, 2012.
Can Rosie win the Kentucky Derby one year to the day after winning the Oaks? That remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, the world will be watching thoroughbred racing’s tough as nails darling. As they will tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern on “60 Minutes”.