Say hello to the only female jockey in the 2014 Kentucky Derby. It’s Rosie Napravnik and we’ve got all the info on what to expect from this fiery red-head.
1. Vicar’s In Trouble Is her Horse
Last year, Napravnik placed fifth at the derby and this year she is riding the horse named Vicar’s In Trouble. His odds are a 20-1 long shot and he has drawn the “dreaded” number one spot. Eight horses in history have won from that post. This will be Napravnik’s third time at the Kentucky Derby.
Not only is Napravnik racing for her own benefit this year, she’s also doing it for charity. According to ABC:
In her name, Kentucky bourbon maker Wild Turkey is donating $10,000 to Old Friends, a retirement farm for thoroughbreds. Every time someone tweets (hashtag) RideWithRosie to @ WildTurkey, the distiller will donate $1 to Old Friends, up to $10,000. If Napravnik wins the Derby, the donation will be doubled to $40,000.
2. She Dominated the Kentucky Oaks This Year
Napravnik won the 2014 Kentucky Oaks yesterday, so if she wins today, “become the first woman to accomplish the Oaks-Derby double and the first rider to do so since Hall of Famer Calvin Borel did it in 2009,” as reported by Syracuse.com.
Rosie Napravnik aims to become the first female to win horse racing’s marquee event and comes in riding momentum from Friday’s victory by filly Untapable in the Kentucky Oaks.
3. Napravnik Used to Disguise Her Gender When She First Started Her Career
When Napravnik first started out in racing, she rode under the name A.R. Napravnik to disguise her gender. Horse racing is a male-dominated field and Napravnik thought her luck would be better if no one knew she was female. ABC News reports:
With her red hair tucked under her helmet, she blended in with the male jockeys in their brightly colored silks, white pants and polished black riding boots. Nine years later, Rosie Napravnik is one of the rising stars in the sport, having long ago discarded her ruse.
Over time, Napravnik realized that embracing her gender in the field was a good thing. She previously stated:
Sometimes I feel like it puts me up on a pedestal when I don’t feel like I should be there. At the same time, I have learned to embrace it and be the role model that people want me to be. It’s kind of inspiring to me that I’ve inspired other people.
4. She Is a Woman of Firsts
If Napravnik wins, she will be the first female to ever ride a Kentucky Derby winner. As a woman who has accomplished many firsts, perhaps the Kentucky Derby will be one more for Napravnik to add to her list. ABC News has a record of all Napravnik’s “firsts”:
She was the first woman to win the Louisiana Derby, and did it twice. She also was the highest-placing female rider in the Kentucky Derby, finishing fifth last year aboard Mylute. She was the first woman to win a riding title at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans in 2011, with 34 more victories than the runner-up. She was the first woman to win the Kentucky Oaks, a $1 million race run on Derby eve.
5. Sometimes Napravnik Can Fight a Little Dirty
Napravnik has admitted to sometimes “going over the line” to finish well in a race. In fact, Napravnik will have to serve a suspension once the derby is over. ABC reports:
After the Derby, she’ll serve a four-day suspension for causing the disqualification of Bayern from first to second in last weekend’s Derby Trial at Churchill Downs. Napravnik and Bayern made contact with Embellishing Bob in the final furlong, and his jockey lodged an objection against Napravnik. The stewards agreed and changed the order of finish, elevating Embellishing Bob to first and dropping Bayern to second.