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Will the Lady Get the Roses?

May 4, 2013 - Al Stephenson
The 139th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place later today. The Run for the Roses is the longest running sporting event in the country, beating out the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show by a single year. Don't ask me how I know that, I just do.

I have been to Churchill Downs for the Derby just once. The year was 1980 and I predicted the winner. Genuine Risk was a filly and a female horse had only won the race once previously. I don't know if I have a soft spot for females, other long shots or just wanted to be different, but I told everyone who would listen that the filly was going to win the race. I was right of course as Genuine Risk not only won the Derby, but finished second in both the Preakness and the Belmont coming "oh so close" to making horse racing history.

I have no knowledge of horse racing. It was a guess. I like to make predictions and sometimes I get it right. Today's race may be a special one too. Another female is trying to make her mark and this time it is not a filly, but a young lady that will be perched atop one of the thorougbreds.

Rosie Napravnik will ride a 15-1 shot for a chance to become the first female jockey to win the Derby. Obviously she can ride or she would not have the mount. She has been the leading jockey at four different race tracks and rode in the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Can she win today on a track that promises to be muddy? Only time will tell, but I would love to see it happen.

I guess I do like long shots. I guess I do like to see the underdog perform. It is fun to see somebody do something for the first time. Am I willing to make the prediction that she will get the roses. Sure, why not?

The view from my seat suggests that the pick is not as far fetched as it seems. A large field and shaky weather will equalize things. She has as good a shot as anybody and I would just like to see it happen if for no other reason than she seems to be a quality person as the following story will attest.

It seems a trainer suggested that male jockeys don't like losing to a girl. When told of the comment, Napravnik responded; "When I'm barreling down the frontstretch and a horse comes up beside me with a female jockey on board, I don't like to get beat by a girl either!"


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