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Sunday Notes: Napravnik On Track to Become FG's First Female Leading Rider

Good morning, New Orleans! Do you know who your leading rider is this winter? Here at Fair Grounds, the nation’s third oldest Thoroughbred race course and a local landmark for well over a hundred years, the soon-to-be crowned jockey champion at the 2010-2011 meeting which ends in two weeks will assuredly not be crowned as king but instead as a queen.

That’s because the jockey who has taken over a commanding lead in the local standings during the second half of the season may be listed in the program as the non-gender-specific A. R. Napravnik, but that jockey is actually the young woman named Rosie who is in her first full season riding in the Crescent City. No female has ever earned a jockey championship in the storied history of Thoroughbred racing in New Orleans.

Rosie won five races Saturday at Fair Grounds, joining Miguel Mena and John Jacinto as the only three riders to accomplish that feat this season.

Also, in an additional post script, the 23-year-old native of Morristown, New Jersey, has 92 wins to her credit entering Sunday’s racing day, and is on a pace to become the first Fair Grounds jockey to win more than 100 races during the season since Joe Talamo rode 118 winners here four years ago.

Those able to catch her act before Fair Grounds brings down the curtain on its current meeting March 27 will be witnessing history.

ROBBY READIES FOR RIDING RETURN AT FAIR GROUNDS – Jockey Robby Albarado, the only rider in Fair Grounds history to win seven local jockey championships but had this season compromised by a broken heel sustained Jan. 2, began galloping horses again Saturday morning at Fair Grounds and is pleased with his progress as he nears his pending competitive comeback.

 “It felt good to start getting back up on horses yesterday,” said Albarado Sunday morning, “and I got on a few more this morning. I’m feeling pretty good about it. I just don’t want to rush things too much.”

Albarado, 37, born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, rode over a hundred winners in six of the seven seasons he has earned  leading rider honors locally.

RAVI’S SONG HEROINE OF NEW ORLEANS LADIES – Mrs. Yoshio Fujita’s Ravi’s Song, convincing winner of Saturday’s second running of the $100,000 New Orleans Ladies, is being considered for a trip to central Arkansas to run in Oaklawn’s Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap on April 15.

“She came out of that race yesterday just fine,” said trainer Carl Bowman on Sunday morning. “In fact, she was kicking and playing around in the test barn like she hadn’t even just run.

“I would say the Apple Blossom is a distinct possibility,” Bowman said. “I’ll have to look around and see what’s available between now and then. The Apple Blossom will remain under consideration but I may just wait for some of the races at Churchill.

“The way I look at it, we’ve been patient with her this long, and she’s turned out to be a very nice racehorse for us and I don’t want to rush into anything,” Bowman concluded. “I’d love to go on a real nice winning streak with her, but I find it’s usually best to let them tell you what they want to do and then listen to what they tell you.”

DON MACBETH MEMORIAL FUNDRAISER MONDAY IN METAIRIE – The annual Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fundraiser will be held Monday from 5:45-10:30 p.m. at the Best Western Landmark Hotel in Metairie.

The 2011 Don MacBeth Memorial fundraiser will feature a special tribute to retired jockey Randy Romero, the Louisiana native who was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame at Saratoga Springs last summer.

All proceeds from the MacBeth Memorial fundraiser go to the benefit of injured and disabled jockeys and exercise riders. Tickets are $30 per person and reserved tables of 10 are $300. For tickets contact Rick Mocklin at (504) 382-9787.

The evening features a cash bar beginning at 5:45 p.m. followed by a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. There will be a live and silent auction, door prizes, a 50-50 Raffle and a dance contest.

Live music will be provided by Harvey Jesus and Fire.