Recently retired jockey Rosie Napravnik, who made history at Churchill Downs by becoming the first and only female rider in the 140-year history of the track to win the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), will be honored for her career accomplishments in a special ceremony scheduled on Saturday, Nov. 15.
Napravnik will be honored in the ceremony in the track’s every day winner’s circle after the day’s sixth race, which has been dubbed “The Run for Rosie” in her honor. Post time for the sixth race is scheduled for 3:08 p.m. (all times EST) and first race post time for Saturday’s 10-race program is set for 12:40 p.m.
The 26-year-old native of Mendham, N.J. made history at Churchill Downs when she piloted Brereton C. Jones’ homebred Believe You Can to win the 2012 running of the Kentucky Oaks, becoming the first woman to ride a winner of America’s premiere race for 3-year-old fillies. She won the race again this year, piloting Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Untapable to a commanding victory in its 140th running.
Between her Oaks victories, Napravnik rode Mylute to a fifth-place finish behind Orb in the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) – the best finish by a female jockey in the history of America’s greatest race. She is the only woman to ride in all three legs of the Triple Crown: the Derby, Pimlico’s Preakness (GI) and the Belmont Stakes (GI) at Belmont Park.
On Oct. 31, Napravnik won the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) at Santa Anita with Untapable, then moments later stunned the racing world by announcing that she was pregnant with her first child and would retire from riding after Breeders’ Cup competition on Nov. 1. She is married to Churchill Downs-based trainer Joe Sharp, who opened a public stable earlier this year, and Napravnik said she would be working to help build her husband’s stable until the baby’s arrival neared.
Saturday’s Churchill Downs celebration of Napravnik’s meteoric rise and the impact of her career will include a special 4-K Big Board video presentation of some of her most notable triumphs. Other special recognition for Napravnik and presentation of gifts from the track and others are also scheduled.
Along with her historic success in the Kentucky Oaks, Napravnik is the all-time leader in stakes victories and career earnings by female jockeys at Churchill Downs, and ranks third at the track in career wins by women. Her 95 career victories at Churchill Downs include 13 stakes wins, which eclipsed a record previously held by the retired Donna Barton Brothers. Her mounts at the Louisville track earned $5,706,600, which shattered the record of $4,618,765 in earnings by horses ridden by Barton Brothers between1993-98. Only the retired Patricia “P.J.” Cooksey, the track’s leading female winner with 214 victories, and Barton Brothers (134), rank ahead of Napravnik in total victories by women at the track.
Napranvik had another record day at Churchill Downs on May 25 when she guided five horses into the winner’s circle. The five-win day was a record-setter for female jockeys and ranks third on the track’s all-time list of single-day victories.
Napravnik’s victory aboard Untapable in the 2014 Distaff was her second in a Breeders’ Cup event. She enjoyed her first success in that event with a victory aboard eventual 2-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby in the 2012 Juvenile. In doing so, she joined Hall of Famer Julie Krone, the all-time win leader among female jockeys in North America, as the only women to earn victories in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
In 2010, Napravnik became the first woman to ride winners of more than $10 million, surpassing Krone’s record for earnings in a single year.
Despite her retirement, Napravnik continues to rank sixth among North American jockeys in earnings this year with $13,531,663. She rode 189 winners from 853 mounts during the year, which reflect a win rate of 22 percent.