Jockey Rosie Napravnik Announces Retirement

Moments after piloting Untapable to victory in the Oct. 31 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park, jockey Rosie Napravnik announced her plan to retire from riding races.

The 26-year-old rider, who is married to trainer Joe Sharp, said she and her husband are expecting their first child.

“I’ve been planning my retirement since I found out that I was pregnant; I’m seven weeks pregnant,” Napravnik said. “Joe and I decided this summer to stop trying not to have children, and we didn’t know whether it would take a month or a year. It didn’t take very long. So it wasn’t completely unexpected, and when I found out and I worked out the timing I said, ‘I’ll be seven weeks at Breeders’ Cup? Perfect!’

“My plan was to wait until after the weekend, and I don’t know if I’d won on another horse if I would have said anything, but this filly has just been very special to me and it’s a very special way to go out, so I just had to say it since they asked me how much it meant to me.”

Napravnik is the nation’s leading female rider and is currently ranked sixth among all jockeys in North America by earnings in 2014 with $12.07 million. She is a two-time winner of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), having taken this year’s edition on Untapable along with the 2012 running on Believe You Can.

In 2012 she broke Julie Krone’s total wins and earnings record for a woman. She is the only woman to have ridden in all three Triple Crown races.

Napravnik said she plans to assist Sharp in his fledgling operation. The former assistant to Mike Stidham and Mike Maker went out on his own this year and has a 9-31 record from 19 starts.

“My actual plan for the near future is, I’m going to be working in the barn with Joe. He started training on his own, his training career is thriving already and his stable tripled in size in the first month and a half,” the jockey said. “He’s getting more and more calls. and the sky’s really the limit for his career.

“It’s great timing to be there and support him so I’m going to be working in the barn, which is something I’ve really missed, doing the actual hands-on horsecare rather than just hop on, hop off, so I’m really excited and I’m still going to be very much involved in the racing.”

According to Equibase, going into the Oct. 31 card, Napravnik had 1,876 wins, 1,634 seconds, and 1,432 thirds from 9,708 starts in a career started in 2005. Her earnings were at $69,676,887. Those statistics do not include the Distaff win.

Napravnik is a New Jersey native who has always been involved with horses. She began riding in pony races as a small child and progressed to exercising steeplechasers. She got her start on the racetrack with the late Richard “Dickie” Small in Maryland.


Untapable Powers to Breeders’ Cup Distaff Win

Untapable put the finishing touches on her memorable 3-year-old filly championship campaign when she won the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) in a driving finish before a crowd of 37,205 Oct. 31 at Santa Anita Park (VIDEO).

Facing older rivals for the first time, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Kentucky homebred daughter of Tapit   scored by 1 1/4 lengths over Don’t Tell Sophia and Iotapa with jockey Rosie Napravnik aboard for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Immediately after the race, Napravnik announced her retirement from racing on national television, effective after the completion of the Breeders’ Cup Saturday, Nov. 1.

“My husband and I are starting a family and my retirement will start on Monday. I’m very excited,” she said.

Untapable, the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner posted her fourth grade I win of the season while collecting her sixth triumph from seven starts overall this year.

Untapable was making her second start at Santa Anita after running eighth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Friday’s victory was her eighth win from 11 lifetime starts and boosted her earnings to $2,996,725.

The bay filly out of the Prized mare Fun House was the 8-5 favorite in the field of 11. The running time for the 1 1/8-mile test was 1:48.68.

Making a sweeping move on the outside for Napravnik, Untapable grabbed the lead in the stretch after engaging a determined Iotapa. She lengthened stride under urging in the final furlong to win impressively.

The closing Don’t Tell Sophia won a photo over Iotapa for second by a nose.

Asmussen said afterward that Untapable is to remain in training in 2015.

“I can’t say enough about her and how proud I am of her. I’m proud of the whole team, Rosie (jockey Napravnik), Scott (assistant trainer Blasi) and everyone. She’s an amazing mare to put us on this stage and to perform like she did.

“Rosie and she are a great combination and they have had a tremendous season. Today, definitely makes her a champion and that’s enough said. She’s had a great year and she’s a great filly. We had faith her. But, we’ve all been to the races, so you never know the outcome.”

Untapable’s sire, Tapit, set a single-season earnings mark with the Distaff victory, breaking a record set in 2007 by Smart Strike  .

Iotapa did much of the hard work for jockey Joe Talamo, pushing pacesetter Tiz Midnight, who was hustled to the lead soon after the start, through a half mile in fractions of :22.93 and :46.73. Iotapa poked her head in front as they reached six furlongs in 1:10.95 and took a narrow lead out of the final turn.

It did’t last long, however, as Untapable, racing wide early and in sixth coming into the final turn while following second choice Close Hatches on the far outside, made her bid with a wide sweeping move.

“I wasn’t worried about being wide on the first turn not considering the amount of horse I knew I had underneath me,” Napravnik said.

Untapable easily swept by Close Hatches and engaged Iotapa in upper stretch. Those two battled to the eighth pole with Untapable gaining a half-length advantage, and edging away from there.

Don’t Tell Sophia, who trailed the field after six furlongs and had about nine lengths to make up, rallied when angled to the outside by Joe Rocco Jr. for the drive and got up by a nose for second over Iotapa.

“My mare ran huge,” Rocco said. “I am so proud of her. When we turned into the backstretch she  popped over to her right lead on her own and I just kind of put her on hold for a few strides. She has a tremendous three-eighths kick and when we got to the three-eighths pole, I said, ‘Let’s go mama.’ I had no trouble in the race at all.”

Untapable carried 121 pounds, three fewer than her older opponents, and paid $5.20, $3.40, and $2.60. Don’t Tell Sophia returned $4.60 and $3.40 whie completing a $27 exacta. Vanity Stakes (gr. I) winner Iotapa improved her career record at Santa Anita to 3-4-1 in eight starts for trainer John Sadler and paid $4 to show.

“I had a little thrill at the quarter-pole, but the winner just got to us and went away,” Talamo said. “I was laying perfect. My filly tried so hard, even when she was passed in the lane.”

Perplexing was the effort turned in by 3-1 shot Close Hatches, who faded to last after being in good position for Joel Rosario while racing wide on the far turn. With three grade I wins this season, Close Hatches posted her second disappointing effort in a row after finishing fourth in the Spinster (gr. I) at Keeneland Oct. 5.

“I didn’t like her position around the first turn, but I wouldn’t say that’s why we ran so dismal,” Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said. “At the three-eighths pole, we had a length on Untapable. Our intent was to try to get the first run on her and we had no run at all. I can’t offer any excuse other than she looks like maybe she’s had enough.”

Juddmonte Farms’ Close Hatches ran second in last year’s Distaff to champion Beholder, who missed this year’s race with a recent illness.

The result provided a certain level of vindication for Asmussen, who along with Blasi was implicated in allegations earlier this year of horse abuse made by a former stablehand. He thanked owner Ron Winchell for sticking with him through the scandal.

Ria Antonia, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner, finished fourth after looming as a threat on the final turn. She was followed by Unbridled Forever, Tiz Midnight, Stanwyck, Valiant Emilia, Belle Gallantey, L’Amour de Ma Vie, and Close Hatches.


Lady Eli Sharp in Juvenile Fillies Turf

Sheep Pond Partners’ Lady Eli remained undefeated in three starts with a dynamic victory in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT) Oct. 31 at Santa Anita Park (VIDEO).

Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. for trainer Chad Brown, Lady Eli, by Divine Park   out of the Saint Ballado mare Sacre Coeur, rated in fourth along the rail until the top of the lane and exploded past front-running Sunset Glow to win going away in a sharp 1:33.41 on a course rated firm.

Sunset Glow, who grabbed the lead from the break, was easily second, 2 3/4 lengths behind Lady Eli, followed by Osaila and Prize Exhibit. Lady Zuzu was a veterinarian’s scratch at the gate.

Lady Eli was bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm and Catesby Clay. She broke her maiden at Saratoga Race Course and then won the Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park.

Lady Eli, who has shown the ability to lay close early and then kick on impressively late, did so again in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. She broke quickly with Sunset Glow and was guided behind an early three-filly speed duel between Sunset Glow, Isabella Sings, and Nicky’s Brown Miss.

Sunset Glow asserted herself and set fractions of :22.66 for the opening quarter-mile, :46.46 for the half-mile, and 1:10.48 for six furlongs. As the field turned from home, Lady Eli, who found room along the rail, blew by the leader and was kept to her task while appearing to loaf in the lane.

Osaila and Prize Exhibit ran on late but couldn’t threaten the top pair.

“I’m so proud of her to see her run like this today,” said Brown, who had three other fillies in the race. “We develop these babies from scratch, and I remember the first time I saw her breeze on the turf. It took my breath away.

“I told (the owners) she was something special and she proved out to be. It all worked out.”

Ortiz said Lady Eli got a perfect trip.

“My filly broke good and I got a nice spot down inside,” Ortiz said. “I broke through the hole (at the top of the stretch) when Sunset Glow came out, and my filly flew right through there. It feels great. It’s unbelievable.”

Victor Espinosa, aboard Sunset Glow for trainer Wesley Ward, said the Exchange Rate filly lugged in a bit at the three-eighths pole and gave some room to Lady Eli, “but she ran great.”

Lady Eli, the favorite in a field of 13, paid $6.80, $4.20, and $3 across the board. Sunset Glow returned $5.20 and $3.40, while Osaila was worth $3.60 to show. The $2 exacta paid $35 and the $1 trifecta $65.90.


Hootenanny Rallies to Win Juvenile Turf

Hootenanny, a Quality Road   colt owned by the connections of Coolmore Stud, wore down pacesetter Luck of the Kitten to win the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park Oct. 31 (VIDEO).

Ridden by Frankie Dettori for trainer Wesley Ward, Hootenanny was comfortably positioned third in the 14-horse field as Luck of the Kitten, also trained by Ward, tried to steal the race. Running free on the lead while followed by Lawn Ranger, Mike Smith and Luck of the Kitten set fractions of :22.71, :46.91, and 1:11.36 through the first three-quarters of a mile.

Hootenanny maintained his position in third before he made up ground in the stretch, with Luck of the Kitten still leading as they turned for home. Challenged by Hootenanny, Luck of the Kitten hung on gamely for a stretch duel. Hootenanny finally kicked in to win by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 1:34.79 for a mile on firm turf.

Dettori thrilled the crowd with his patented leaping dismount in the winner’s circle.

The victory improved Hootenanny’s record to 3-1-1 in five starts and the winner’s purse of $550,000 increased his bankroll to $751,985.

Produced from the Hennessy mare More Hennessy, the winner is from his sire’s first crop. He was bred in Kentucky by Barronstown and is owned by Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor, and Mrs. John Magnier of the Coolmore partnership. He was a $75,000 purchase at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Hootenanny paid $14, $7.80, and $5.60. Luck of the Kitten paid $9.20 and $7.00. Daddy D T finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Luck of the Kitten, at $11. The $1 exacta paid $50.

Tabor, who along with his partners has won the Juvenile Turf three out of the eight years it has been run, said the connections have a lot of options with Hootenanny.

“He’s a very good horse, and this has been a very lucky race for us,” Tabor said. “To win at the Breeders’ Cup is very special and hopefully we can do it for many more years. He obviously gets the mile pretty well, and he could run in the (classic Two Thousand) Guineas (Eng-I), and there are a host of races that are possibilities for him.”

Dettori, who had ridden Luck of the Kitten in his first two starts, including a maiden win at Saratoga Race Course, said he knew the pacesetter had a lot of speed.

“I know he’s (Luck of the Kitten) got a lot of speed, so I didn’t want to get in a speed duel,” the rider said. “He (Hootenanny) blew the first turn a bit, but once I got him asleep, I knew then that I had the race in my mercy.”

Ward was not at Santa Anita, spending time in Florida with family. His father, Dennis, explained that the trainer’s sons were involved in a lot of activities at this time of the year and that Ward wanted to be there for them.

Hootenanny began his career by winning a maiden special weight at Keeneland and then finished third in $75,000 Rollicking Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Sent by Ward to Royal Ascot, Hootenanny dominated 23 overmatched rivals in the Windsor Castle Stakes, becoming the first stakes winner for his Lane’s End Farm-based sire in the process. In his most recent start, the colt finished second in the Darley Prix Morny (Fr-I) Aug. 24 at Deauville.

Hootenanny was initially purchased by Winding Oaks Farm for $120,000 from the Eaton Sales consignment to the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Pinhooked by St. George Sales to the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale, he was purchased by Cromwell Bloodstock for $75,000.


Goldencents Posts Repeat in Dirt Mile

In the final race of his career Goldencents   displayed courage that will be remembered for years to come in winning the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) Oct. 31, at Santa Anita Park, becoming the first horse to repeat in the race (VIDEO).

Goldencents seized the lead along the rail in the first turn but was hounded by the speedy Vicar’s in Trouble through a half-mile in :44.80. Goldencents put that one away through six-furlongs in 1:09.27, but grade II winner Tapiture had launched his move at that point.

Tapiture steadily closed in on Goldencents and cut the lead in half at midstretch, but the tired Goldencents would dig in, angling in and out to hold off Tapiture by 1 1/4 lengths at the wire.

  1. C. Racing’s Goldencents is the first horse to win two editions of the Dirt Mile since the race was added to Breeders’ Cup in 2007. With the victory, the 4-year-old son of Into Mischief surpassed $3 million in career earnings. He will stand next season at the same home as his sire, Spendthrift Farm in Lexington.

Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, Goldencents completed the mile race in 1:35.16 on a fast track. He was followed home by Tapiture in second and Pants On Fire five lengths back in third. Goldencents returned $3.40 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show while Tapiture returned $3.80 and $3. Pants On Fire returned $4 to show.

Jockey Rafael Bejarano guided Goldencents to victory for a second straight year as the Southern California-based rider earned his fifth career Breeders’ Cup victory. The winning trainer was Leandro Mora, assistant to Goldencents’ suspended regular trainer Doug O’Neill.

“When Tapiture started coming up, I started to sweat cold again, but then it was all over,” said Mora of his first Breeders’ Cup victory. “But I had so much confidence in this horse this whole week. He’s been so kind, so great…so grateful to everything.”

Out of the Banker’s Gold mare Golden Works, Goldencents was bred in Kentucky by Rosecrest Farm and Karyn Pirrello.

Like last year Goldencents prepped for the Dirt Mile with a runner-up finish in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (gr. I), this year finishing a nose behind Rich Tapestry, who is scheduled to start in the Nov. 1 Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I). Last year Goldencents finished second in the three races before the Dirt Mile before rising to the occasion, and this year he finished second in three of his four efforts before the Dirt Mile.

For a second straight year, Goldencents led the race through a sub :45 half-mile and delivered a clear victory.

“Okay, well, first of all, it’s guts. That’s him,” Mora said, noting that he maintains his breathing through fast races. “He’s an old pro.”

While Winchell Thoroughbreds homebred Tapiture couldn’t get by a determined winner, the 3-year-old son of leading sire Tapit   did earn the first grade I placing of his career. George and Lori Hall’s Pants On Fire, a 6-year-old son of Jump Start  , improved on his seventh-place finish in last year’s Dirt Mile.

Two-time grade II winner Vicar’s in Trouble was vanned off after the race after a left front injury that was characterized as minor by the on-call veterinarian. It was later upgraded to a condylar fracture.

Golden Gate Daily Results and Activity


Friday, October 31


Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $16,000 $17,000 Summary Chart
Race 2 Starter Allowance – $8,000 $13,000 Summary Chart
Race 3 Maiden Special Weight $26,000 Summary Chart
Race 4 Allowance $30,000 Summary Chart
Race 5 Claiming – $20,000 $18,000 Summary Chart
Race 6 Starter Allowance – $40,000 $17,000 Summary Chart
Race 7 Maiden Special Weight $26,000 Summary Chart
Race 8 Maiden Claiming – $20,000 $13,000 Summary Chart
Race 9 Claiming – $4,000 $8,400 Summary Chart


Final Entries

Saturday, November 1


Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Claiming – $40,000 $28,000
Race 2 Maiden Claiming – $8,000 $8,000
Race 3 Starter Allowance – $40,000 $17,000
Race 4 Maiden Claiming – $8,000 $8,000
Race 5 Maiden Special Weight $26,000
Race 6 Allowance $30,000
Race 7 Claiming – $12,500 $10,000
Race 8 Claiming – $8,000 $9,500
Race 9 Allowance Optional Claiming – $62,500 $31,000
Race 10 Allowance $30,000


Santa Anita Daily Results and Activity


Friday, October 31


Race# Race Type Purse
Race 1 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $75,000 Summary Chart
Race 2 Las Vegas Marathon S. $200,000 Summary Chart
Race 3 Golden State Juvenile Fillies S. $200,000 Summary Chart
Race 4 Twilight Derby $200,000 Summary Chart
Race 5 Damascus S. $100,000 Summary Chart
Race 6 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf $1,000,000 Summary Chart
Race 7 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile $1,000,000 Summary Chart
Race 8 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf $1,000,000 Summary Chart
Race 9 Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff $2,000,000 Summary Chart
Race 10 Allowance Optional Claiming – $40,000 $75,000 Summary Chart


By Glen Todd

By Glen Todd


It’s another great day here in Southern California on this Halloween Eve and all appears ready for the 2014 version of the Breeders Cup World Championship.

Ran into Cheryl Fruno and Jennie Spence late yesterday along with a handful of other Canadians throughout the day.

The final preparation were well underway at Santa Anita on Thursday but it seems like I have lost track of days but we are ready to go.

My number one son Mario Gutierrez rode Royal Tale  for us yesterday and he finished third just beaten 1 3/4 lengths but ran much better then he had in his previous California starts.

We are not aware of any further late scratches in any of the Breeders Cup races but the field sizes are still very good.  But its a shame that several of the big stars have been sidelined due to injuries.

It was announced yesterday that Magician one of the late scratches has been retired to stud for 2015.

Keep your eye on the Euro’s in the turf events as they have dominated the grass races for the last several Breeders Cup races.

One of the big questions amongst the handicapping wizards was how many of the Euro’s would run on Lasix as its not permitted in their homeland.  Many feel that Lasix is a performance enhancing drug as well as a drug to help prevent bleeding? Interesting question with so many millions in purses on the line.

Two year olds of course are not permitted to race on Lasix in Breeders Cup Races

 I’m up and ready to go, hopefully many of you will take in the races over the next two if not in your living rooms but at one of the many Off Track Betting sites.

Good luck with your wagers and watch out for those Euro’s on the Turf.


Don't find fault, find a remedy. - Henry Ford

BC, NBC Extend Media Rights Deal 10 Years


Breeders’ Cup and the NBC Sports Group announced Oct. 30 an unprecedented 10-year media rights partnership extension that will keep the World Championships on NBC and NBCSN through 2025.

The agreement was announced by Craig Fravel, president and chief executive officer of Breeders’ Cup, and Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN. As part of the agreement, NBC and NBCSN will present at least eight hours of live coverage of the Breeders’ Cup, including live primetime coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) on NBC in 2016 from Santa Anita Park and in 2017 from Del Mar.

The agreement is an extension of a current four-year pact that began in 2012. That year marked the first time the Classic was televised live in primetime. NBC broadcasted the first-ever Breeders’ Cup in 1984. The new 10-year extension is the longest and most extensive media rights agreement for Breeders’ Cup.

“We’re proud to extend our partnership with the Breeders’ Cup as we continue to showcase the most prestigious events in horse racing,” Miller said. “We look forward each year to concluding the horse racing season with two days of terrific racing at the Breeders’ Cup.”

This past year, NBC Sports Group expanded its Breeders’ Cup coverage; televising 11 programs of Breeders’ Cup qualifying races from the nation’s top tracks under the banner of “Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Win and You’re In.”

“We are extremely excited to extend for the next decade our outstanding relationship with NBC and the NBC Sports Group in televising the Breeders’ Cup World Championships as a cornerstone of its long-term expanded commitment to Thoroughbred racing,” Fravel said. “The Breeders’ Cup has enjoyed an expanded and revitalized presence on NBC with new fans viewing the Breeders’ Cup Classic hour and NBC’s ability to cross-promote the Championships on its wide variety of platforms.”

NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 31st Breeders’ Cup begins Oct. 31 with the live telecast on NBCSN from 5-8 p.m. EDT. Coverage continues Nov. 1 from 3:30-8 p.m. EDT on NBCSN; and from 8-9 p.m. in primetime on NBC.