Anna “Rosie” Napravnik was back on horses Sept. 22 for the first time since undergoing multiple surgeries on a broken arm incurred in a July 6 spill at Delaware Park, the jockey reported Sept. 23.
Napravnik, 23, galloped several runners for trainer Mike Stidham at Delaware Park the past two mornings. She said her physician gave her clearance to ride Sept. 21 after reviewing X-rays of her left arm.
“I saw the doctor (Sept. 21),” Napravnik said. “My range of motion is great and he said everything looked excellent; he had no problem with me getting back on horses. I’ve been galloping the past two mornings and it has been going fine. I’m sore as heck but that’s the way it goes, and my arm has been great in the mornings.”
Napravnik, who will marry fiance Joe Sharp Oct. 9, has an Oct. 17 doctor’s appointment, at which she expects to be cleared to return to race riding.
Napravnik is a regular among the leading riders in the Mid-Atlantic region and one of the top female jockeys in the nation. She was leading the standings at Delaware Park earlier in the season when she fractured the radius in her left arm and dislocated the ulna.
The injury occurred when Naseeb, a 4-year-old daughter of Belong to Me owned by Kaleem Shah and trained by Dale Capuano, suffered a catastrophic injury to a bone between her shoulder and elbow and threw Napravnik about a quarter-mile into a five-furlong turf race at Delaware Park. The filly was euthanized.
Napravnik underwent four surgeries on the arm at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., first to pin the ulna into place and stabilize the radius with a plate and screws, then to correct complications from compartment syndrome, a painful swelling and retention of fluids. She was hospitalized 12 days.
“Thankfully there were no complications with the bone structure, only with swelling,” the jockey said. “I haven’t had any further complications since I’ve been out of the hospital. Obviously there’s still strength to get back everywhere from this point, but I’m still going to physical therapy and will probably do that up until I ride races.”
Napravnik has been rehabbing at Pro Physical Therapy in New Castle, Del., which is co-owned by horse owner Matt Haney.
“I started using them three years ago to come back from my leg injury,” Napravnik said. “At this point, since I’ve pretty much gotten all my range of motion back, they’re conditioning me to get back into the same shape I was in before I was hurt.
“It’s almost like a workout; the therapy exercises simulate a jockey’s position, and they’ll work on certain areas that need strengthening. I’m also going to the gym as well three times per week, so I’m doing everything I can to be as strong, fit, and ready to go as I need to be when I come back.”
Earlier this year Napravnik became the first female to sew up a Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots riding title and the first female to win the $1 million Louisiana Derby (gr. II), which she took aboard Kelly Breen trainee Pants On Fire. She piloted that runner in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), just the sixth female rider in history to participate in the race.
At the time of her injury she ranked eighth in the nation with 131 victories and ninth by purse earnings with $4,699,716.