Saturday, May 7, 2011

105: The Self-Empowered Woman: Rosie Napravnik

Dear Followers,

A 23-year old female jockey made history yesterday by finishing The Kentucky Derby as one of the top 10 riders. The first woman to ride in the Derby was Diane Crump in 1970, and the last was Rosemary Homeister in 2003. But Rosie is the first to finish higher than 11th at the Derby. Anna Rose Napravnik first sat on a horse when she was only two years old. Her mother trained three-day eventers, and by the age of seven she had told her mother that she wanted to become a jockey and win The Kentucky Derby (2: An Early Sense of Direction).

Anna Rose Napravnik's parents divorced when she was 16 (1: No Paternal Safety Net), and as a high school student she began riding as an apprentice jockey. She would be at the barn by four Am and gallop race horses from five am to nine thirty am and then take the bus to Hereford High School, and then she would attend night school three nights a week. On the day she would have graduated from High School she was, instead, in the winner’s circle twice at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

When she rode Pants On Fire in The Louisiana Derby she became the first woman to ever win that race. Her success rate is undeniable, and she has won riding titles in Maryland, Delaware and at the fairgrounds in New Orleans, where her 110 victories were more than 30 more than her closest competitor (8: Turning No Into Yes).

Horse trainers acknowledge that in addition to being a natural, she is both tough and competitive. In addition, she had the good fortune to win on her very first mount and went from being an unknown in the racing world to being the most successful female jockey in the country (13: More Than Meets The Eyes). Track observers know that when she loses she's really unhappy with herself (10: The Critic Within). Rosie is 5'2" and weighs 111 pounds, but has no trouble controlling a 1200 pound thoroughbred. She's had four major injuries (broken and fractured bones).

Her mother has worked extensively with horses, her sister is a horse trainer and her father works an organic farm in Asbury, NJ with Belgian Horses. Napravnik's ultimate goal is to be recognized as one of the best jockeys in the sport - male or female.

Looking forward to your comments. . .

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