Rosie Napravnik had a busy day.
As dusk started to settle at Belmont Park last evening, Napravnik rode in her first ever Belmont Stakes. But she didn't get time to revel in the glory of the Test of the Champion -- directly after, she had to change silks and jump on another horse.
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One of the only female jockeys present Saturday, the 24-year-old Lynbrook resident and rising star rider raced in nine of the 13 races.
The results were so-so -- other than a second place on Papaw Bodie in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap and a third on Post Pattern in race 13, she didn't crack the top three. But her mother, dressage trainer Cindy Napravnik, was more than proud -- during the 144th Belmont Stakes, Roise rode long shot Five Sixteen (19-1) into fifth place, passing favorite Dullahan.
"It's her first Belmont, I'd do anything just to make sure I'm here," Cindy said. "And I'll tell you that horse she rode, for her to bring home fifth, I wanted to see if she could make him part of the group, and she did."
Napravnik's friends and family came out in full force Saturday, cheering her on and introducing themselves to fans. Her cousin, Todd Napravnik, anxiously watched race 9 on a TV monitor, growling for her to make a move when a hole opened up.
"She's such a great woman," Todd said. "She has such great confidence -- I'm so proud of her. She's humble."
"I lost it," Todd said.
But if Rosie's success isn't surprising to anyone, it's her mom. Cindy said her youngest daughter was 7 when she told her she wanted to ride in the Triple Crown.
"I've known her to be a winner forever, since a tiny little thing," Cindy said. "I think she's just as talented as all the other riders, and there's some talent out there."
Cindy acknowledged yesterday didn't go quite the way Rosie had hoped, but as a horsewoman who knows the dangers of working in the saddle, "every time she comes in safe is a victory."