In 137 years, a female jockey has never won the Preakness Stakes, but Rosie Napravnik is a legitimate contender to win this year's race. Napravnik rides Mylute, and the duo finished in fifth place on a muddy track at Churchill Downs earlier this May in the Kentucky Derby.
Napravnik is an accomplished jockey, by any measure.
This year alone, she's won 123 races in 494 starts, and her horses have earned $5.19 million. In her nine-year professional career, Napravnik has won 1,542 races, and her horses have earned $49.8 million (h/t equibase.com).
Mylute has yet to win a race in 2013, but an impressive second-place finish at the Louisiana Derby behind Revolutionary, combined with the horse's fifth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby, shows the potential for a big win.
One big plus for Napravnik and Mylute heading into the Preakness is Napravnik's familiarity with the track at Pimlico Race Course.
According to David Ginsburg of the AP (via the Boston Globe), Napravnik's first career wins came at Pimlico when she was just a 17-year-old high school student.
She spoke about her comfort level with the track, via Ginsburg:
"It’s always an advantage if you know a track well. I won a lot of races at Pimlico and I like the track. I know the track like the back of my hand, and I appreciate that fact."
At this time, there are only nine horses entered to race on Saturday, and there's a chance the race will be run without any further additions. Napravnik and Mylute received a favorable draw and will start at post No. 5—right in the middle.
With less than half as much competition for open space on the track at Pimlico than they faced at Churchill Downs, finding and holding position will be much more critical.
Napravnik and Mylute held back at Churchill Downs for most of the race and then made a late charge on the muddy track. Such a strategy will be risky this Saturday, however, as a dry track will help sprinters maintain their speed.
Oddsmakers like this duo's chances (relatively speaking) and, according to horseracingnation.com, are giving Mylute 8-1 odds as of Thursday evening at 5:00 p.m. ET.
Orb is the heavy favorite to win after winning the Kentucky Derby, and fresh-legged Departing is considered to be the top challenger.
That said, Mylute and Napravnik have an excellent chance of pulling off an upset and making history in the process.
The time could be now that a woman breaks this particular glass ceiling.
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