Meet Leaders & Champions
Twenty-three-year-old sensation Rosie Napravnik concluded the 139th Thoroughbred Racing Season at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots as the meet’s leading jockey with 110 wins, becoming the first woman to clinch a riding title at the New Orleans oval. Napravnik was honored in the winner’s circle following Race 7 on Sunday’s Closing Day program, one day after she made history as the first female to win the Louisiana Derby with an agile ride aboard Pants On Fire, who was named Fair Grounds’ Horse of the Meet.
“I have had a ton of highlights,” Napravnik said. “There’s such a long list of people to thank. Some of the most supportive have been Mike Stidham and Hilary Pridham and that outfit, and my fiancé, Joe Sharp, for convincing me to come down here and supporting me throughout the meet. I really want to thank everybody. I’ve got some great fans here and I can’t wait to come back next year.”
Napravnik won 13 stakes races on the season, topped by her biggest career victory in the city’s first $1 million race, the Louisiana Derby.
“That was an unbelievable feeling,” she said. “You know, it wasn’t really expected. When I came across the wire I thought to myself, ‘Well, wait, this is the Derby, right? Did I just win the Derby?’”
Napravnik, who finished 31 wins ahead of second-leading jockey Shaun Bridgmohan (79 wins), indicated she will ride next at Keeneland’s Spring Racing Season, April 8-29, before heading to Delaware Park, where she dominated the standings last year.
Steve Asmussen, inducted into the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame on Thursday, won 46 races this season (13 more than Tom Amoss with 33) to earn his 10th Fair Grounds training title, tying him with Jack Van Berg, the all-time leading conditioner at Fair Grounds, for most leading trainer crowns. Asmussen now has 767 career wins at Fair Grounds, second only to Van Berg.
Maggi Moss took home her first Fair Grounds owner title in New Orleans with 19 wins. The Des Moines, Iowa native was co-leading owner (with Heiligbrodt Racing) during the shortened 2005-06 Fair Grounds season that was relocated to Louisiana Downs.
“The Fair Grounds is my favorite racetrack,” Moss said after a trophy presentation Sunday. “It really means a lot to me. This and Churchill completes my career. I couldn’t be more excited. I thank everybody that is here, the management of Fair Grounds, and I thank Steve Asmussen and Tom Amoss, because they are the ones that did it and, actually, the horses probably the most.”
George and Lori Hall’s Pants On Fire was named Horse of the Meet in a vote of media and racing officials. The 3-year-old colt, trained by Kelly Breen, competed in all three of Fair Grounds’ graded stakes races for horses on the Triple Crown trail, finishing second by a neck in the Grade III Lecomte and sixth in the Grade II Risen Star, despite reportedly battling an illness, before the Louisiana Derby triumph. Pants On Fire is likely to make his next start in the May 7 Kentucky Derby.
And finally, in a five-week tournament-style poll of visitors to FairGroundsRaceCourse.com that closed today, the 1924 Louisiana Derby and Kentucky Derby winner Black Gold was named the all-time favorite Fair Grounds horse, besting Risen Star in the final round of voting, 57.5% to 42.5%. The tournament started with 32 horses enshrined in the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame. Whirlaway and Tiffany Lass completed the “Fair Grounds Final Four.”
139th Thoroughbred Racing Season Honors
Horse of the Meet: George and Lori Hall’s Pants On Fire
Leading Jockey: Rosie Napravnik
Leading Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Leading Owner: Maggi Moss
Older Horse of the Meet: Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Mission Impazible
Older Female of the Meet: Mrs. Yoshio Fujita’s Ravi’s Song
Turf Horse of the Meet: Augustin Stable’s Smart Bid
Turf Female of the Meet: Michael Stidham, John Adger, Oakcrest Farm & Stone Farm’s Upperline
Sprinter of the Meet: Louie Roussel III’s Mambo Galliano
Three-Year-Old Male of the Meet: George and Lori Hall’s Pants On Fire
Three-Year-Old Filly of the Meet: James M. Miller’s Daisy Devine
Older Louisiana-bred of the Meet: Brittlyn Stable’s Star Guitar
Three-Year-Old Louisiana-bred of the Meet: Tri-Star Racing LLC’s Lovenotlost
Claimer of the Meet: Corale “Bunky” Richards’ Brilliantbrilliant