Saturday marked an emotional afternoon beneath the Twin Spires, as Churchill Downs and the City of Louisville celebrated the extraordinary career of Rosie Napravnik, the first female rider to capture the Kentucky Oaks (twice), the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Napravnik, who captured her first Kentucky Oaks on Believe You Can in 2012, publicly announced her pregnancy and retirement following her victory on Untapable in the Oct. 31 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Grade I).
“Thank you to Churchill Downs and thank you to everybody for being here to make this day so special,” Napravnik said. “I feel so honored because Churchill has definitely been the site of some of the most memorable moments in my career. I rode my first Breeders’ Cup mount here in 2010 (Forever Together in Filly & Mare Turf) and first Kentucky Derby in 2011 on Pants on Fire. My first Kentucky Oaks win on Believe You Can in 2010 was absolutely one of the most memorable moments of my career. Finishing fifth in the Derby on Mylute, I felt close enough to almost taste it. And Untapable will definitely go down as my favorite horse of all time.”
Napravnik was honored following Saturday’s sixth race, which was named in her honor as “The Run for the Rosie.” She was given a special video presentation by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who officially declared Saturday “Rosie Napravnik Day” in the city of Louisville.
Napravnik also received the honor of “Kentucky Colonel” and was presented with a plaque by the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. Finally, the rider was honored by an additional video presentation that highlighted the most memorable moments of her prestigious career at Churchill Downs.
“I want to thank the guys that are down here, most of the jockeys, for helping me become a better rider in a great colony,” a teary-eyed Napravnik said. “Thanks to the owners and trainers that have supported me throughout: Jack Wolf being one of them, Mr. Ken Ramsey, Winchell Farm, Mr. Ron Winchell and Brereton Jones are just a few to mention of some of my favorite horses here at Churchill and all over the country.”
Napravnik said she plans to always remain close to the Thoroughbred industry and since her retirement has been assisting husband/trainer Joe Sharp at Churchill Downs.
“I don’t feel like I’m leaving,” Napravnik said. “I’ll be around and I’ve been at the races a lot in the last two weeks; I’ll just be in a different outfit. I’ll always be close to this industry and the horses. Again I just want to thank the fans for all their support and everybody here at Churchill Downs, thank you.”
SATURDAY STAKES STARS EXIT RACES IN GOOD ORDER
Both Sparkling Review, winner of Saturday’s $237,800 Mrs. Revere (Grade II) and Heart to Heart, who took the $115,300 Commonwealth Turf (GIII) reportedly exited their respective stakes victories in good order according to their conditioners.
Edward Seltzer and Beverly Anderson’s Sparkling Review, trained by Ben Colebrook, was nominated to both the Nov. 29 Hollywood Turf Cup (GI) and Nov. 30 Matriarch (GI) at Del Mar, but the trainer said Sunday morning that both races were “longshots” for the filly at this point.
“She came out of it great,” Colebrook said. “She ate up this morning and was clean-legged so everything is good.
“I think it would be a longshot to go out to California at this point. I’ll still talk about it with the owners, but most likely we will call it a year with her and hope to have her back next year. With her pedigree, I would think she definitely should continue to improve in 2015.”
Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart is expected to make another start in 2014, pointing to the Dec. 26 Mathis Brothers Mile (GII) at Santa Anita, a one-mile turf event for 3-year-olds formally known as the Sir Beaufort Stakes.
“He came out great,” Lynch said. “He seemed like a very happy horse this morning. The stakes race on Santa Anita’s opening day is where we’re looking at going with him next. It’s the last of the 3-year-old stakes and is basically an ideal distance for him – a two-turn mile on the turf – and I think he will really like that turf course out there.”
Lynch hinted on two possible goals for Heart to Heart as a 4-year-old in 2014: one possibly being the Maker’s 46 Mile (GI) at Keeneland and the other being the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) run on Kentucky Derby Day beneath the Twin Spires.
“We’ll give him a little break after that,” Lynch said. “If he continues to improve, we’ll look to run him again as a 4-year-old at Keeneland and then we hope to have him back there at Churchill on Kentucky Derby Day.”
The Commonwealth Turf marked the fifth win in 12 starts for Heart to Heart, who has banked $329,807. Sparkling Review carries a record of four wins from five starts and $303,642 in earnings after Saturday’s Mrs. Revere victory.
WEIGHTS RELEASED FOR SATURDAY’S GRADE III CARDINAL HANDICAP
Weights for Saturday’s $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII) have been released and two-time graded stakes winner Overheard is the 123-pound high weight for the 41st edition of the 1 1/8-mile turf event, the final turf stakes offered by Churchill Downs in 2014.
Pin Oak Stable’s Overheard boasts a record of 14-5-5-4 with earnings of $491,340, but her trainer Malcolm Pierce told Churchill Downs on Saturday that the filly was unlikely to start in the Cardinal.
The 121-pound starting high weight could be the Armando De la cerda-trained La Tia, who prevailed by a neck on Oct. 12 to take Belmont Park’s $200,000 Athenia (GIII). Her 2014 resume also includes victories in the $150,000 Arlington Matron (GIII) and $144,053 Ontario Matron (GIII). Overall, the 5-year-old mare has banked $803,326 from a 22-9-1-5 record.
On Saturday, La Tia breezed five furlongs at Hawthorne Race Course in :58.60, the fastest time of 23 workers at the distance.
Trainer Graham Motion has a likely Cardinal Handicap starter in Julie’s Love-GB (116 pounds), who finished third in her last outing, Woodbine’s $184,886 Maple Leaf (GIII) on Nov. 1. The 6-year-old mare has $430,139 in earnings from a record of 28-5-8-6.
Other likely starters according to Churchill Downs’ stakes coordinator Dan Bork: Northern Passion (117), Royal Fury (116), Antonia Autumn (114) and Honey Lake (113).
INTERNATIONAL STAR, LUCKY PLAYER HEAD LIST OF 50 NOMS FOR GRADE II KENTUCKY JOCKEY CLUB ON NOV. 29
Graded stakes winners Imperia, International Star and Lucky Player headline a list of 50 promising 2-year-olds nominated to the $200,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) on Saturday, Nov. 29. The 88th renewal of the 1 1/16-mile dirt race for juveniles awards the top four finishers with 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
International Star is one of three Mike Maker-trained nominees along with A. Rod Again and Cold Spice. International Star captured Woodbine’s Grey (GIII) on Oct. 5 where he earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. He followed that performance with a ninth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI). International Star has earned $190,028 from a 5-2-2-0 record.
Lucky Player captured 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in winning the $115,500 Iroquois (GIII) at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen. Most recently, he finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI).
Other Kentucky Jockey Club nominees include the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Imperia, a $139-600-earner who took Belmont Park’s Pilgrim (GIII) on Sept. 28 before finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI); The Truth or Else for trainer Kenny McPeek, who has recorded back-to-back third place efforts in the Champagne (GI) at Belmont and Aqueduct’s Nashua (GII) and earned $136,950; and the Bob Baffert-trained Lord Nelson, who captured the $101,000 Speakeasy at Santa Anita by an impressive 6 ¾ lengths.
Additionally, Conquest Stables LLC’s Conquest Tsunami, an earner of $280,023 who most recently took the $60,101 Street Sense at Churchill Downs and Zayat Stables LLC’s Mr. Z, a multiple graded stakes-placed earner of $259,726 were nominated to the Kentucky Jockey Club, but are pointing to the Delta Downs Jackpot (GIII) according to their trainers.
ANGELA RENEE, CONDO COMMANDO TOP CAST OF 31 GOLDEN ROD NOMS
Siena Farm LLC’s Grade I-winner Angela Renee and Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and The Elkstone Group’s Grade I-winner Condo Commando highlight a cast of 31 2-year-old fillies nominated to the 71st running of the $200,000-added Golden Rod (GII) on Saturday, Nov. 29. As a complimentary race to the co-featured Kentucky Jockey Club, the Golden Rod for juvenile fillies awards the top four finishers with 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Angela Renee has earned $300,000 with a record of 2-1-1 from five starts, including a victory in the Sept. 27 Chandelier (GI) at Santa Anita which granted her 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. She followed her Chandelier victory with a 10th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI).
Condo Commando, trained by Rudy Rodriguez, has earned $268,600 in a pair of wins coming from three starts. She won the Aug. 31 Spinaway (GI) at Saratoga by 13 ¼ lengths, before finishing fourth in her most recent start, Belmont’s Frizette (GI) on Oct. 4.
Another notable nominee is Dale Romans-trained Cristina’s Journey, who earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks by taking the Sept. 6 Pocahontas (GII) at Churchill Downs. She finished 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in her last effort and has earned $153,159 in two wins from three starts.
Other Golden Rod nominees include the undefeated West Coast Belle for trainer Wayne Catalano, who won the $62,768 Rags to Riches by 6 ¾ lengths on Oct. 26 beneath the Twin Spires and the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Take Charge Brandi, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Santa Anita. Lukas said that Take Charge Brandi would forego the Golden Rod for a start in the Delta Downs Princess (GIII) on Nov. 22.
ON THE WORKTAB – Sunday at Churchill Downs was a busy day for workouts by stakes hopefuls, highlighted by Molly Morgan who covered a half-mile in :49.80. Molly Morgan is nominated to the Nov. 27 Falls City (GII). Other Falls City nominees Tempers Flair (4F in :49.20) and Flashy American (5F in 1:00.60) also worked Sunday… Clark Handicap (GI) nominees Pick of the Litter (4F in :49.20), Prayer for Relief (5F in 1:02.40), Knights Nation (4F in :49.20), Looking Cool (4F in :49.40) and Call Me George (4F in 1:02.40) also took to the track Sunday morning… Cardinal Handicap (GIII) nominee Angegreen-ITY breezed five furlongs in 1:04.80… 2013 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands runner-up Golden Soul covered a half-mile in :49.60… Seven Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) nominees also recorded workouts: Danny Boy (4F in :48.20), Far Right (4F in :49), Eagle (5F in 1:01), Keen Ice (5F in 1:02.60), Thirtysevenliveson (5F in 1:02), Tough Customer (7F in 1:32.00) and War Point (7F in 1:31)… The Golden Rod (GII) nominees that worked at Churchill Downs Sunday were Cristina’s Journey (4F in :49), Emmajestic (4F in :51.40), Keen Pauline (4F in :50), Super Saks (5F in 1:00.40) and Taylor S (5F in 1:00).