The most successful jockey's agent at Keeneland in recent years has been Steve Bass, who booked the mounts of two-time Eclipse Award winner Julien Leparoux to amass nine riding titles at the Lexington oval.
With Leparoux, who also won nine riding titles at Churchill Downs, taking a crack at the West Coast riding circuit this season, Bass will bring not one, but two riders to the Blue Grass—Alan Garcia, whose book he has been managing since December 2012, and three-time Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots leading rider Rosie Napravnik.
"Julien and I were together a little over seven years and had a pretty good run," Bass said. "It's a change now, and I want to do good with both riders."
Napravnik, 25, hopes to find a natural fit as the majority of her business from Louisiana makes a smooth transition to Kentucky. She rode part of the Keeneland meet last fall.
"She's got a ton of business here," Bass said of the rider who currently leads the nation in victories and stakes scores. "Most of her business from Fair Grounds comes to Kentucky; Steve Asmussen, Larry Jones, Bret Calhoun, Al Stall... all those guys run at Keeneland and Churchill."
Garcia, 27, has been riding at Gulfstream Park over the winter. He has primarily based his tack in New York during the spring and sumer months, but is nevertheless a familiar face in Lexington. He finished second in the jockey standings during Keeneland's 2011 spring meet and won the 2010 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on Stately Victory.
Garcia will ride Pontiff in the March 30 Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) for trainer Dale Romans while Napravnik is scheduled to pilot Shanghai Bobby in that $1 million event. Both riders expect to book mounts for Keeneland's opening da, April 5, and will ride the full meet before continuing on to Churchill for the spring/summer meeting that runs April 27-June 30. Shipping in to ride there last spring, Napravnik became the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) on Believe You Can.
With Bass managing their mounts, Napravnik and Garcia expect to then ride at Saratoga Race Course before returning to Churchill for the new fall meet in September.