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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
The Kentucky Derby Post

Rosie Rides for More Than Just a Win

Rosie Napravnik 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire - Alex Evers

After the 2014 Kentucky Oaks there was only one thing that came to mind; Rosie’s done it again. With regard to Untapable’s trainer Steve Asmussen, and the investigation that ensued after PETA recorded and submitted a video of his assistant, Scott Blasi, there was a mixed reaction following the Oaks.


However, regardless of which side of the fence you were on, everyone was standing up in support of Rosie Napravnik. It was her second win in the Kentucky Oaks in just three years. In 2012, Rosie teamed up with trainer Larry Jones and a beautiful filly that had a perfect name for the occasion. Believe You Can. And we all know what Rosie did, as she became the first female jockey to ever win the Kentucky Oaks.


What was different in 2014 is that she had to answer a very different post race question; can you win tomorrow?


Napravnik did not have a mount in the 2012 Kentucky Derby which in a lot of respects was a little bit surprising. In 2011, she rode Pants on Fire and finished 9th, the best Kentucky Derby finish by a female jockey at the time. But, Rosie wasn’t fazed by missing out on a ride in 2012 following her marvelous score in the Kentucky Oaks. Instead, she stuck with what works and kept getting better.


In 2013, she returned to the feature race on the first Saturday in May and rode gamely through the mud. While her dreams of becoming the first female to ever win the Kentucky Derby didn’t happen she still managed to break her own record when Mylute finished 5th. A horse she came back to ride to a third place finish in the Preakness.


Could she finish better in 2014 or could she win? She had the momentum of a Kentucky Oaks win in her back pocket but she also got dealt a hand that no jockey, trainer, owner or fan ever wants to see in the Kentucky Derby; the inside post. Vicar’s in Trouble was up against a sizeable task anyway so if a female jockey was ever going to win the Kentucky Derby it would not have been aboard this colt in 2014.


So what about her chances of becoming the first female to win the Preakness Stakes. Here is a where I think she has a great opportunity to shatter another glass ceiling.


Rosie returns to Pimilico, the same track where she obtained her jockey’s license in 2005. Hence, it’s also the familiar place where she scored her very first win. With respect to who gave her a leg up on the winner, Ringofdiamonds, Rosie will be riding this weekend with a pay it forward type of mentality. On April 4th trainer Richard “Dickie” Small passed away.


“There’ll be a void at Pimlico,” said Napravnik. “When I ride in big races and do well, he’s one of the first people I think of. I know how proud of me he would be.”


The State of Maryland will be awfully proud as well. The beginning of female jockey’s in thoroughbred racing on major tracks where betting was legal began here. In 1968, the Maryland Racing Commission obeyed a court order, and after several attempts Kathy Kusner was finally awarded a license. Although the 1972 Olympic silver medalist gained worldwide success as an equestrian her efforts and triumph in Maryland will always outweigh the accomplishments of her first sport. She was the first therefore every female jockey that has rode to victory since keeps her legacy right where it belongs.


And so here are, back in Maryland with a chance at seeing history unfold in the 2014 Preakness Stakes. But this is not the only time that a female jockey has attempted to become the first winner of the Preakness Stakes. Well yeah, but my question is whether or not Bayern is the horse that will take Rosie there.


Bob Baffert is not in unfamiliar territory. Looking back you can’t forget the respect he had for another female rider when she was in the irons of his most successful colt in recent years.


“It was like when Chantal Sutherland was riding Game on Dude” Baffert said. “I got so much joy out of winning a big race that had never been done before with a female rider. It brought an extra flair to it.”


What’s great about this team is that Rosie knows Bob, she knows what Bob is looking for and he knows what he’s got in the saddle. As an example did anyone else see Midnight Lucky romp home in the G1 Humana Distaff on derby day at Churchill Downs? Snap shot of this filly by Midnight Lute: 3 Graded Stakes starts, 2 wins. I mention that because Rosie was aboard for both scores.


So what about Bayern? Unraced as a Juvenile we could never tell in the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby if Bob was going to enter him or if he would even qualify. The decision was finally made and the Derby Trial Stakes was it.



It was her first time up and although Bayern got a little bit loose in the stretch I wasn’t too disappointed with the DQ that resulted in a 2nd place finish. When Bayern got on the lead in previous races Baffert had concerns with the how his colt responded to racing out front. In the Derby Trial I didn’t see a horse that lost interest.


Instead, I saw a young, inexperienced colt take a big step forward. So, maybe Bayern has matured and he will be prepared to hold on to a lead versus more seasoned 3-yr-olds hunting him down in the stretch. This test will tell his connections just how good he is, how much distance he can carry, and where he will go next. But, until the Preakness Stakes is run, I cannot discount his chances of becoming a Triple Crown spoiler.


In the saddle is the reigning and four time leading rider at the Fair Grounds. Rosie has also already become the all time national earnings record holder for female jockeys in a single year. I point this out because passing the accomplishment set by Julie Krone is not an easy thing to do. So, there is no doubt in my mind that Rosie Napravnik has better days and victories ahead of her. Will it begin on Saturday? The chrome will be tough to tarnish but the jersey girl is pretty tough herself.


Finally, there is one last thing about Rosie Napravnik that I should also mention. In case you have failed to see it, turn to twitter and try this popular hash tag: #RideWithRosie


Every time the hash tag is either retweeted or tweeted a $1 donation by Wild Turkey will be made to Old Friends Farm, a safe and dignified retirement to pensioned thoroughbreds - Very creative and a very nice and easy way to increase the donation total. 


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Older Comments about Rosie Rides for More Than Just a Win...

Rosie is going to win a Triple Crown race sooner of later, but I like a handful better tomorrow.

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About Me

Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer – Chicago, IL


Growing up across the river from the Bluegrass State I was able to spend a lot of summer days at Ellis Park, Henderson, KY. 


In the spring of 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance and the tradition continues because there is no other city in the racing world like Louisville, KY on Derby Day. 


Although the story of a Kentucky Derby winner is legendary, a champions trail is what The Kentucky Derby Post is all about. The coverage begins when Juvenile season starts and continues until the field is set, the picks are in and the roses are awarded. 



American Pharoah

Racing's 12th Triple Crown Winner

First Grand Slam Champion

Bob Mayberger / Eclipse Sportswire

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