Jockey Rosie Napravnik dropped a Breeders’ Cup bomb in the winner’s circle: She’s pregnant and retiring.
After taking Friday’s $2 million Distaff at Santa Anita aboard Untapable ($5.20 to win), Napravnik announced her plans on national TV, shocking commentators and fans.
“Starting on Sunday, I’m retired,” she said. “My husband Joe (Sharp) and I are starting a family.”
Napravnik, who is seven weeks pregnant, said she wasn’t going to announce her retirement until after the Breeders’ Cup but was moved by the moment.
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“This filly is very special to me,” she said. “I couldn’t think of a better way to go out.”
Napravnik, 26, has won nearly 2,000 races, including the 2014 Kentucky Oaks with Untapable. Considered the best female jockey in America, she’s also a two-time Breeders’ Cup race winner. “And I’m still riding (Saturday),” she added.
“My retirement is indefinite,” she said. “I can’t promise to stay off a horse forever.”
Still Golden – Defending his championship in identical style, Goldencents ($3.40) led gate to wire in the $1 million Dirt Mile, holding off 3-year-old Tapiture by 11/4 lengths. In his final race, Goldencents almost equaled his 2013 winning time; he finished Friday in 1 minute, 35.16 seconds, only .04 seconds off his time last year.
He will be retired with seven wins and seven seconds from 18 starts and just over $3 million in earnings.
The 4-year-old chestnut was again ridden by Rafael Bejarano, who got his fifth Breeers’ Cup victory. Trainer Leandro Mora got the credit for his first Cup win.
Missing the postrace party was trainer Doug O’Neill, the colt’s regular conditioner. O’Neill is serving a suspension for a medication violation and was not allowed to take part in this Breeders’ Cup in any way. He watched the race from his Santa Monica home.
“I had so much confidence in this horse the whole week,” said Mora, O’Neill’s longtime assistant. “He’s been so kind, so great.”
Goldencents leaves for Kentucky on Sunday, where he’ll join Spendthrift Farm’s stallion roster.
Vicar’s in Trouble, who pressed the pace, injured his left front ankle and was vanned off the track.
Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.