NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Horse racing is called the "Sport of Kings", but at the Fair Grounds a queen ruled the track. Rosie Napravnik established a dynasty on the dirt winning four titles in a row as a jockey. The "Super Bowl" of the Fair Grounds is the Louisiana Derby, and of course Rosie won that last year. She was unstoppable, but all empires must fall sometime. Rosie retired from racing at the top of her game to give birth to her first child due in June. Napravnik, always with a flair for the dramatic, made the announcement on national tv after winning one of the biggest races of her career.
"It was a really spontaneous thing to do. People ask me when did you decide to do it. I was like when the words were coming out of my mouth. With Untapable winning, and with me being one of the only people that knew that this win at the Breeders' Cup was capping off my career. That it was all coming to an end, it was so incredibly special," Napravnik said.
Rosie might be retired from being a jockey, but she's still immersed daily in horse racing. Napravnik's husband Joe Sharp is an up-and-coming trainer at the Fair Grounds, and Rosie is his assistant trainer. She's at the barn at 5 am every morning helping prepare Sharp's 38 horses for racing glory. Four months in, the partnership is working successfully. Among a list of veteran trainers like Thom Amoss, Brett Calhoun, and Steve Assmussen, Sharp is an unheard of third place in his rookie campaign.
"The timing working out where I was moving out of the limelight, and he's swiftly moving into the limelight. It's really crazy how it worked out. We're very lucky that the timing has worked as well as it has," Napravnik said.
"We talked about me going out on my own, we talked about her having a child, and us having a child. We didn't expect to start out as well as we've had, no one could prepare for that. Appreciating every step along the way, and it's a lot of fun doing it together, and yes timing has been impeccable," Sharp said.
Rosie's guided her horses to over 71 million dollars in purses. She's ridden in all three triple crown races: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont. It's tough to find a substitute for the sensation of riding an 1,100 pound thoroughbred to victory, but Napravnik might've found her fulfillment in training.
"I see her get just as excited coming down the stretch, obviously there's no thrill like riding one, but at the same time I can see a lot of exhilaration and excitement in her just watching them come down the lane in a race we have a horse in there," Sharp said
Rosie's only 27 years old, that leaves a lot of time left to come out of retirement. She plans on having one more child, and then the Rosie return questions will start to heat up.
"I can't really say either way, I mean a 100 percent. I don't know how I'm going to feel in a couple of years. If I'm really going to get the itch back, go back to riding, but I can say that I'm one 1,000 percent satisfied with the career I've had if I decide to make that it for riding races. I'm really looking forward to having kids and being a mom, and I really enjoy being in the barn with Joe working together," Napravnik said.
"I'd be surprised, but never say never, the door is open if she needs to,"Sharp said.
Joe and Rosie are expecting a boy, and right now they've agreed on Tucker as his name. His arrival is attached with a horse tale.
"June 9th is my due date and it's actually coincidentally the tenth anniversary of the day I ran my very first race. Which I think is sort of ironic."