Jockey Rosie Napravnik brings home-track advantage

She’s aiming for a first at Pimlico

BALTIMORE — Rosie Napravnik’s motivation for winning the Preakness has little to do with making history.

With a victory aboard Mylute on Saturday, Napravnik would become the first female jockey to capture the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. More importantly to her, though, it would serve as a triumphant return to Pimlico Race Course, where she launched her outstanding career.

‘‘You know what? It would be a great accomplishment, but that’s not the reason I want to win it, because no other woman has won it before,’’ Napravnik said. ‘‘I just want to win it for my own sense of accomplishment and for all the people who have been rooting for me since the very beginning. It would be unbelievable to win the race, and I really believe we have a good shot.’’


Napravnik, 25, finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby on Mylute, the best performance ever by a female rider in the sport’s most esteemed event.

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If there’s such a thing as home-track advantage, Napravnik will have it in the Preakness. Her first career win came at Pimlico in 2005, just days after finishing her junior year of high school. One year later, Napravnik swept the rider standings at all four meets at Pimlico.

And now she’s running in the Preakness, where she will become the third female rider to have a mount, joining Patti Cooksey (sixth aboard Tajawa in 1985) and Andrea Seefeldt (seventh with Looming in 1994).

‘‘It’s always an advantage if you know a track well,’’ Napravnik said. ‘‘I won a lot of races at Pimlico and I like the track. I know the track like the back of my hand, and I appreciate that fact.’’

Last year, Napravnik won 193 races. Along the way, she became only the second female rider in history to win a Breeders’ Cup race and the first woman in the 138-year history of the Kentucky Oaks to reach the winner’s circle.


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It appears as if Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will enter Governor Charlie in the Preakness.

After the horse ran well over 6 furlongs on Monday at Churchill Downs, Baffert said Tuesday, ‘‘He came off his work really, really well. We are prepared to go.’’

Governor Charlie did not run in the Kentucky Derby because of a minor foot bruise that caused him to miss training time in April.

Baffert has until Wednesday morning to make a decision, but he said, ‘‘Unless he shows me something, it’s pretty likely he’ll be on that plane.’’