with Horse and Hound

Will Rosie Napravnik Make History at the Kentucky Derby?

Rosie Napravnik is a goal-oriented girl. After her first pony race at the age of seven, she decided she wanted to be a jockey. Done. Check.

At the age of sixteen, she decided she wanted to be the first girl to win the Triple Crown. Pending.

Now at the age of twenty-three, her first opportunity on the road to that goal is tomorrow, the first Saturday in May, 2011, at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby. Napravnik is riding Pants On Fire, the horse she rode to the wire in the Louisiana Derby on March 23. In that race she bested two other well-regarded Derby entrants, Nehro and Mucho Macho Man. Those who profess to know these things tell us that Dialed In is the favorite in this year’s Derby. Uncle Mo, a horse thought by some to have the potential to win the Triple Crown has been scratched from the Derby due to a gastrointestinal problem.

For sure, Rosie Napravnik has proven herself. In her career debut at age seventeen, she brought home a winner. By the end of her apprentice jockey year she had three hundred wins, earning nearly $6.5 million. This season, she was the leading jockey at The Fairgrounds in Louisiana. Napravnik will be the sixth female to ride in the Kentucky Derby.

Napravnik is a hard worker. She attributes her discipline to growing up on the family farm in New Jersy and doing farm chores from the time she can remember. Her mother was a show rider.

“She’s one tough cookie,” said John Parisella, a trainer. “She’s a killer!”

“I don’t take any crap from the guys,” she admits.

Posted May 7, 2011
Updated May 8, 2011