P to P XV: Rosie Is Riveting
By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor
PHILADELPHIA (BASN/STR – ITR) Now, as the 2012’s thoroughbred season is behind us, on reflection it was so good, I am fighting the temptation to say, “I’ll Have Another.”
But in all seriousness, as a fan and observer, the move by trainer Doug O’Neill to scratch the plucky colt prior to the Belmont Stakes and a potential Triple Crown tragedy was one of the most under-reported moments of sportsmanship in an endeavor where fair play is seen through the eye of torn parimutuel tickets and cuss words.
That plus the expansion of the Breeders’ Cup format is helping horse racing hold serve, if not gain more potential lay fans as the challenge to enhance a specific niche beyond The Triple Crown continues…
What we may be also seeing is a consistent effort to change the minds of punters and prognosticators who scoff at the notion women jockeys are not fit to ride.
In this spirit, I submit one Anna Rose Napravnik. “Rosie” has been steadily moving forward since becoming a major star at the Maryland tracks in 2006, winning race titles at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.
After climbing the Top 100 list for years, the boot – leather tough Napravnik has finally gone beyond any female jockey prior to the great Julie Krone. She closed the year with $12, 451,713 in purses in 1200 starts (193 wins, 191 places, 167 show) securing the highest spot ever for a female jockey on the North American leaderboard in 2012.
Rosie’s efforts (16 percent winners, 46 percent of Top 3 finishers) earned her an eighth-place ranking among the top jockeys in the nation in the year-end standings, passing Krone’s record of ninth place set in 1988.
Winner of back – to – back meet titles at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds Race Course, Rosie also made history last May when she won the coveted Kentucky Oaks, becoming the first female rider in the race’s 138-year history to do so aboard Larry Jones’ filly Believe You Can.
Go Baby GO!
In a statement, Krone was effusive in her praise of Napravnik. “It is pretty obvious that Rosie lays down the numbers. What fun it has been to watch her year unfold. She is in new territory; being one of the top ten jockeys in the USA. My heart gets to racing at the thought of her winning the Kentucky Derby. I live vicariously through many of her racing moments, then the others, I just enjoy.
“Her tactical savvy in a race is as good as they come. Her gift of the feel or touch for the Thoroughbred is remarkable. As a rider one of the best compliments I got in the 1980′s was a valet that said, ‘You look like a man on a horse.’ This has been said of Rosie many times as well. Her talents are only second to her determination. I suspect this won’t be her last visit to the Top Ten list. She has all the qualities of a champion.”
Napravnik also rode the two-year-old colt Shanghai Bobby to five straight victories for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Starlight Racing. The colt’s fifth win in as many starts came in the grade one Breeders Cup Juvenile, a victory that made him a shoo-in for the Eclipse Award for Champion Two-Year-Old Colt and marked him as the early favorite for this year’s Kentucky Derby.
A consistent winner as a top North American trainer, Pletcher says ‘pay no attention to the men at the pay window.’ “Rosie rides as good as any male jockey out there; she’s a fierce competitor and wants to win every time she goes out to the track. She’s a great communicator and always does her best to put her horses in a spot to win.”
“This year has been unbelievable,” Napravnik said. “I’m very grateful to my supporters and to all of the people who have given me the opportunities to get to this level. I have continued to learn and have grown as a rider and I thrive on the challenges that come from competing against the best in the game. I’ve had the chance to work with some of the best horsemen in the business and I feel privileged to have ridden some incredibly talented horses in 2012. I’m excitedly looking forward to what’s to come in the New Year!”
Currently leading the Fair Grounds Winter Meet with 33 wins “Rosie The Riveting” is continuing the winter trend of the ladies putting up a big game when it’s money time. Emma – Jayne Wilson, a mainstay at Canada’s Woodbine, has also been one to do major damage when she crosses the border. Wilson’s numbers for 2012 have her ranked #30 among the Top 100 (130 W 135 P 128 S and 15% winners in 870 starts for $6, 483, 508 in purses).
Rosemary Homeister, Jr. who rides in Florida, made the leader board at #78 (125 W 122 P 122 S and 13% winners in 934 starts for $3,280, 647 in purses); and Forest Boyce hit the board at #96 (101 W 119 P 130 S and 13% winners for $2,884,445 in purses).
Chantal Sutherland finishes out the Fillies’ Top Five, listed at #146 of 1,762 jockeys riding on North American tracks, according to rankings by Equibase.
Next Post Time: In our next piece, we will focus on the Super Bowl; and how Racino action comes into the mix; as well as how the spirit of Isaac Murphy is influencing our current crop of riders.
So, until next time, when you see Rosie Napravnik workin’ that Hoss Power in deep stretch, scream at the top of your lungs –
WORK THAT NOBLE BEAST!!!
Always outnumbered…never outgunned.
Copyright (c) 2013 Michael – Louis Ingram all rights reserved.