Female jockey makes history by finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby

Rosie Napravnik riding her horse Pants on Fire
Image credit: Ed Reinke/Associated Press

Of course, she wanted to win the whole thing. But 23-year-old Rosie Napravnik’s 9th place finish in the 137th annual Kentucky Derby this past weekend is still ground-breaking. USA Today reports:

“Only the sixth female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby, Rosie Napravnik gave her best effort to take Pants on Fire to the winner’s circle — but ended up finishing in 9th place.

That makes her the highest-finishing woman jockey in Derby history. Two female jockeys have finished 11th in the race — Patti Cooksey in 1984 and Julie Krone in 1995.”

Napravnik, who used to ride under the name A. R. Napravnik so that people wouldn’t know she was a girl, has clearly fought hard to earn the respect of her peers in a sport she says is “still a man’s world.” And while she was disappointed not to take first, she says she–and other women riders–will be back.

“I’ve said a million times, the first and second generations (of women jockeys) have really opened the doors for me. So, we continue to have more and more talented female riders. I’m hoping to be back here once again.”

Huge congrats to Napravnik–and hopefully now she’ll get the credit she wants and deserves as “a top rider, not just a top female rider.” ‘Cause I think the case is pretty much closed on that one.

New Orleans, LA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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