Napravnik looks to break more barriers in Preakness

Fri May 16, 2014 5:22pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - When Rosie Napravnik first became a jockey, she went by the name A.R. Napravnik "so no one would know I was a girl."

A lot has changed in the last decade for the diminutive jockey with the soft demeanor but tenacious get-out-of-my-way attitude on the racetrack.

Napravnik, who was born Anna Rose but now goes by the name of Rosie, has established herself as one of the best jockeys in North America, regardless of gender.

On Saturday, she hopes to become the first woman to win the Preakness Stakes when she rides Bayern in the $1.5 million classic at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

She'll be riding for Hall of Fame trainer and five-time Preakness winner Bob Baffert, who said he picked Napravnik purely for her talent.

"A lot of jockeys are intimidated when they ride for me. She's not," Baffert said.

"She just rides her horse. I never say hardly a word to her. I just throw her on there, that's it, and I just leave her alone.

"She does her homework and I don't have to say too much to her."   Continued...

May 2, 2014; Louisville, KY, USA; Untapable (13) jockey Rosie Napravnik celebrates after winning the 2014 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.  Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports