I have a great respect for anyone who breaks historic barriers in the worlds of business or sports — and right now my heroine is jockey Rosie Napravnik. This month she became the first female Triple Crown jockey in horse racing, a truly amazing feat.
I ‘ve been following Rosie lately because I have a tradition of watching the Triple Crown races –the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont — that goes back to the days of Secretariat, the wonder horse who set the standard and set records for winning all three with spellbinding ease and panache in 1973. I didn’t get to see that series live, but witnessed two other astounding Triple Crown winners closing the deal in style at Belmont just a few years later. They were Seattle Slew and Affirmed in 1977 and 1978. Since then, there has been a long drought and I’ve been focused on spotting the next winning Triple Crown combination of horse, trainer, owner and jockey. This year it seemed to be Orb, who won the Kentucky Derby handily for legendary trainer Shug McGaughey, owner Stuart S. Janney III and jockey Joel Rosario. But by the time the Triple Crown ended with Orb defeated in both the Preakness and Belmont, my attention had shifted to another phenomena – a gutsy female jockey getting rave reviews from fans and sportswriters for setting a new kind of record.
Rosie Napravnik did not win any of the Triple Crown races this year, but she came in 5th, 3rd and 6th on two different mounts – her finish in the Belmont on the filly Unlimited Budget showed a raw determination to break down the barrier that said female jockeys couldn’t cut it in three classic races in a row this tough. If you’d like to read more about what makes Rosie so special, follow this link to a great article that catches her special spirit and bravery: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1665465-meet-rosie-napravnik-horse-racings-first-female-triple-crown-jockey. And if Rosie is riding in next year’s Triple Crown series, you should consider paying close attention!