A female jockey has never won the Kentucky Derby in the 136-year history of the race, dating back to 1875. But this year, Rosie Napravnik has a chance to make history, and holds decent odds to become the first female to win the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. As only the sixth female jockey to even take-up the mount in the Kentucky Derby, she’s already in rarefied-air, but there’s no question she belongs.
At 23, Napravnik is a rising star in the world of horse racing and is among the sports’ elite. With more 1,121 career wins, she knows success, but is inches away from finding the biggest success in all of horse racing at the Kentucky Derby. Throughout her career, she’s picked up accolades and awards along the way and has the credentials to justify her derby mount.
In 2006, Napravnik burst onto the scene, finishing 31st in the earnings rankings and winning 300 races. In 2009, she finished 40th in the rankings with over $5 million in earnings for the year.
Napravnik has the horse to win the derby in Pants on Fire. At present, Pants on Fire holds 7-1 odds, the second-best in the field. And with the No. 7 pole position, Napravnik received a favorable draw that’s much better than the draw she received on Friday in the Kentucky Oaks, where she started on the outside on St. John’s River. All she did was make a beeline for the rail out of the gates, nearly reeling-in winner Plum Perfect down the stretch before losing by the nose. As far as tuneups go, it couldn’t have gone much better.
If you’re looking for a rider to root for, keep an eye on Napravnik. She’s a superb jockey and in just a few hours, she has a shot to make history aboard Pants on Fire.
The Kentucky Derby gets underway at 3:24 p.m. on Saturday at Churchill Downs. Stay with our 2011 Kentucky Derby StoryStream for previews, odds and analysis up to and throughout the derby. For more on the race, head over to SB Nation's Kentucky Derby StoryStream or check out And Down The Stretch They Come.