Napravnik's Bug Days End With Three-Bagger

(from Maryland Jockey Club release)
Anna "Rosie" Napravnik ended a successful campaign as an apprentice rider with three victories on Wednesday's card at Laurel Park, giving the 18-year-old 279 wins as a bug rider with earnings of $5,346,154.

This year she ranks fifth in the nation with 208 first place finishes, trailing only Julien Leparoux (297), Ramon Dominguez (254), Russell Baze (238), and Martin Garcia (227). Leparoux and Garcia are also bug riders.

"If there is one word to describe how I feel, satisfied would be it," said Napravnik, who eclipsed the $4 million mark in earnings for the year. "I don't know how to explain it. It was not what I expected, but it doesn't surprise me. That is the type of person I am. I go out and get what I want by working so hard. I had a lot of people helping me, and they did so because they knew I really wanted to do this and was going to do what I needed to do to get there."

Immediately after her junior year at Hereford High School in Baltimore County, Napravnik began riding professionally. She visited the winners' circle with her first career mount in June 2005 at Pimlico on a horse trained by Richard Small.

She won 71 races for $1.3 million in 2005, and this year has established herself as the top rider in the Maryland jockey colony, winning both the Laurel Park winter and Pimlico spring riding titles. Napravnik has 54 multiple win days at the major Maryland tracks this year and has won at least one race in 84 of the 100 days she has ridden at Pimlico and Laurel Park.

After she serves a 10-day suspension for an earlier riding infraction, Napravnik is to start as a journeyman on Sept. 6, the opening day of the Laurel Park fall meeting.

"I am a little nervous," added Napravnik. "A lot of people don't think I am going to lose business, but things happen. It is a little different ballgame. I am at the top of the jockey standings right now, and I don't want to go downhill or plateau either."

The last dominant bug rider in Maryland was Ryan Fogelsonger, who completed his apprentice year in May 2003 with 419 victories and more than $7.2 million in earnings, which included the 2002 Eclipse Award.