Jockey Rosie Napravnik closed out a career-best season Dec. 31, securing the highest spot ever for a female jockey on the North American leader board in 2012.
Finishing the year with $12,451,713 in purse earnings and 193 wins with 191 seconds and 167 thirds from 1,200 starts, Napravnik finished eighth among the top jockeys in the nation in the year-end standings. Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone set the record in 1988 when she finished the year with a ninth-place finish. She finished ninth again in 1992 and the record stood for the past 20 years.
Napravnik won her second consecutive meet title at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in March and made history in May when she won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), becoming the first female rider in the race's 138-year history to do so. She won the race aboard Believe You Can, bringing home the garland of lilies for trainer Larry Jones and owner and Brereton Jones.
"It is pretty obvious that Rosie lays down the numbers," Krone said in a release. "What fun it has been to watch her year unfold. She is in new territory—being one of the top ten jockeys in the USA. My heart gets to racing at the thought of her winning the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). I live vicariously through many of her racing moments, then the others, I just enjoy.
"Her tactical savvy in a race is as good as they come," Krone continued. "Her gift of the feel or touch for the Thoroughbred is remarkable. As a rider one of the best compliments I got in the 1980's was a valet that said, 'You look like a man on a horse.' This has been said of Rosie many times as well. Her talents are only second to her determination. I suspect this won't be her last visit to the top ten list. She has all the qualities of a champion."
Napravnik rode the 2-year-old colt Shanghai Bobby to five straight victories for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Starlight Racing. The colt's fifth win in as many starts came in the Breeders Cup Juvenile (gr. I), a victory that made him a shoe-in for the Eclipse Award for champion 2-year-old colt and marked him as the early favorite for this year's Kentucky Derby.
"Rosie rides as good as any male jockey out there," said Pletcher in a release. "She's a fierce competitor and wants to win every time she goes out to the track. She's a great communicator and always does her best to put her horses in a spot to win."
"This year has been unbelievable," Napravnik said in a statement. "I'm very grateful to my supporters and to all of the people who have given me the opportunities to get to this level. I have continued to learn and have grown as a rider and I thrive on the challenges that come from competing against the best in the game. I've had the chance to work with some of the best horsemen in the business and I feel privileged to have ridden some incredibly talented horses in 2012. I'm excitedly looking forward to what's to come in the New Year!"
Napravnik is currently leading the recently-opened Fair Grounds meet with 33 wins.