From the Paulick Report
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.”