BALTIMORE - Saturday's Preakness Stakes is a homecoming for Rosie Naprav- nik, who won her career debut at Pimlico on June 9, 2005. She was an admittedly clueless 17-year-old who was amazed she ended up in the winner's circle with Ringofdiamonds.

"I had no idea what I was doing," Napravnik said Friday at a news conference. "Leading up to it, it was surreal that it was even happening. I didn't know how to read a Racing Form or how to place a horse in a race. Somehow I got to the front and won. My mom was there, and it was awesome."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Napravnik moved during the summer of 2004 from New Jersey to Maryland, where she galloped horses and learned her trade for trainers Holly Robinson and Richard Small. She had a mount for Robinson on Friday and planned to visit Small. Family members and many friends from Pimlico will be rooting for her in her first Preakness.

Napravnik will try to upset Kentucky Derby winner Orb with Mylute, who ran fifth at Churchill Downs with Napravnik aboard.

"Orb's Derby was very impressive," she said. "I know because we followed him the whole way. We'll have to improve a couple lengths, but Mylute is really coming along, too."