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10 Things to Know About Rosie Napravnik, the Only Female Jockey in the Kentucky Derby Field

via Getty Images via Getty Images

On Saturday evening, Rosie Napravnik will attempt to make history by becoming the first female jockey to ever win a Kentucky Derby. While she may vary from her competitors in terms of her gender, she's far from a novelty act.

Leading up to Saturday's big race, here are 10 things you should know about Rosie Napravnik, who has a more than decent chance at making history, mostly because she's already done it so many times before.


Rosie is the first woman to win the Louisiana Derby... twice.

There's a reason that Napravnik is considered one of the rising stars in horse racing -- she gets results.

This year she won her second Louisiana Derby (she's the only female jockey to ever win the race) while riding on Vicar's In Trouble, the horse she will be riding at this year's Kentucky Derby.

"She rode a great race," Mike Smith, the jockey who finished second in this year's Louisiana Derby, told ESPN. "A brilliant race actually."

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She began pony racing when she was 7

And yes, pony racing looks like the most fun ever :: Getty Images And yes, pony racing looks like the most fun ever :: Getty Images

Rosie got her start by racing ponies at a very young age. She gradually worked her way up the ladder until prominent horse trainer Dickie Small gave her the opportunity to jockey her first professional race at the age of 17.

She won.

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She was also the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Oaks... twice

The race which traditionally takes place on the eve of the Kentucky Derby features a field of fillies and a large purse. In 2012, Rosie became the first female jockey to ever win the race. She was riding on a horse that couldn't be more appropriately named: Believe You Can.

On Friday, she won the Oaks for the second time while riding on heavy-favorite Untapable:

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She participated in more than 1200 races last year

Rosie participated in 1228 races last year, which is an average of more than three races per day. She finished in the top 3 in more than half of them, so it would be wise to bet on her horse to at least show in the Derby.

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She's currently the fifth highest-earning thoroughbred racing jockey in North America

via Equibase via Equibase

The horse she's riding, Vicar's in Trouble, is currently the third highest-earning thoroughbred. Not a bad combo.

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She's married to one of the trainers that will try to help her win the Kentucky Derby

Psssst, Hollywood: I have your script idea right here.

Rosie is married to Joe Sharp, who just so happens to be the assistant to Mike Maker, the trainer of Vicar's in Trouble. The two are often adversaries on the race track out of necessity, but on Saturday, Rosie and Joe will be pulling hard for the same undersized horse to pull out a victory -- for a number of reasons.

“We’ve always said, ‘Man, wouldn’t that be cool if we were in the Derby together,’” Sharp told the New Orleans Advocate. “It is something that we’ve talked about and something that we’ve hoped.”

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Her favorite horse racing related movie is Seabiscuit

Although when pressed, she admits to having seen Racing Stripes.

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She's been profiled by 60 Minutes

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She already is the highest-placing female jockey in Kentucky Derby history

via Getty Images via Getty Images

Last year Rosie made Derby history by finishing fifth, good enough to be considered the highest-placing female jockey ever.

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The odds for the horse she's riding -- Vicar's in Trouble -- currently sit at 22-1

Vicar's in Trouble being ridden during a morning exercise :: Getty Images Vicar's in Trouble being ridden during a morning exercise :: Getty Images

Of course this might (and likely will) fluctuate before race time. Rosie is the only jockey to have ever raced on Vicar's in Trouble, and in his five career starts he has three first place and two third place finishes.

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You can help Rosie raise money for retired thoroughbreds just by using a hashtag

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Up until the Derby begins, every time you use the hashtag #RideWithRosie, Wild Turkey will donate $1 towards Old Friends, Rosie's favorite charity, which provides a dignified retirement to Thoroughbreds. Wild Turkey has already agreed to donate $10,000 to the charity and will donate up to another $10,000 for every use of the hashtag. If Rosie wins the race, they will double their donation, making the potential total $40,000.

So even if you don't have a horse in this race, here's a reason to pull for one.


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