Breeders' joy for Untapable, pregnant jockey

Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:10pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

ARCADIA California (Reuters) - The 2014 Breeders' Cup opened its $26 million programme on Friday with a superb win by Untapable, a disappointing run by the well backed Close Hatches and a stunning pregnant pause by jockey Rosie Napravnik.

Favourite Untapable, expertly piloted by Napravnik, took the honours in the feature race, the $2 million Distaff, with a commanding performance down the stretch but Close Hatches, a 3-1 choice, faded badly to finish last in a field of 11.

Untapable, undisputed queen of the three-year-old fillies, improved her career record to an impressive eight wins in 11 starts while Napravnik stunned the crowd at Santa Anita Park after the race by announcing her retirement as a mother-to-be.

"My husband Joe (Sharp) and I are going to be starting a family," Napravnik, 26, later told reporters, saying her retirement would start on Sunday after she had raced for a final time on Saturday, the last day of the 2014 Breeders' Cup.

"His career (as a horse trainer) is brand new and thriving, so it's kind of good timing. He's going to step into the limelight and I'm going to step out.

"I've been planning the retirement since I found out that I was pregnant. I'm about seven weeks pregnant. Couldn't think of a better way to go out."

Untapable, winner of the Kentucky Oaks in May with Napravnik on board, surged past Iotapa from the outside coming into the final turn to win the Distaff by one and one-quarter lengths.

Iotapa, piloted by Joseph Talamo, had to settle for third after finishing a nose behind Don't Tell Sophia in the day's feature race.   Continued...

October 31, 2014; Santa Anita , CA, USA; Rosie Napravnik aboard Untapable following victory of race nine of the 2014 Breeders Cup Championships at Santa Anita Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports