Believe You Can scores in 138th Kentucky Oaks

May 4th, 2012 | By TrackSide View | Category: Articles

Rosie-NapravnikwebNapravnik first female jockey to win race

Ron Correll
Senior columnist

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It took nearly a mile-and-an-eighth but Believe You Can finally got by longtime leader Broadway’s Alibi to win the 138th running of the Kentucky Oak on Friday at Churchill Downs by three-quarters of a length.

Jockey Rosie Napravnik made history when she became the first female jockey to win the Oaks. Trainer Larry Jones picked up his second Oaks win. He won in 2008 with Proud Spell.

Broadway’s Alibi had the lead before the field went under the wire the first time and Believe You Can was sitting off her as they rounded the first turn and ran the first quarter in 23.12. Colonial Express was in third and On Fire Baby was tracking in fourth.

The order stayed that way as they hit the half in 47.47 and six furlongs in 1:11.08. Broadway’s Alibi tried to stretch out her one-length advantage rounding second turn but Believe You Can wouldn’t let her get away. The top pair was on even terms at the quarter-pole and the battle was engaged.

Broadway’s Alibi fought on bravely, but Napravnik and Believe You Can wore her down and got the lead near the sixteenth pole and stretched it to three-quarters of a length at the wire. Grace Hall was another two-and-a-half lengths back in third and Summer Applause rallied for fourth.

Believe You Can came into the Oaks off a win in the Fair Grounds Oaks and she tacked on $564,220 to her career earnings for owner-breeder (former governor) Brereton Jones. Brereton Jones also teamed with Larry Jones in the Proud Spell win.

Brereton Jones said after the win that he felt like racing horses was a lot more fun than politics. Brereton Jones was very complimentary of  Rosie Napravnik who he called a “very nice and talented young lady.”

Napravnik was elated after the win. “It’s unbelievable. I’m just so happy so grateful to be here. There are a lot of people that are a big part of me getting to this and winning this race and I just can’t thank everybody enough.

“I cried a little but I don’t think I’m done crying yet.

“Dream trip, absolutely.

“Last year was kind of a tease (finishing a fast-closing second St. John’s River), I was so close but not there, and this year I was determined to be the one in the winner’s circle and I had the right horse to do it.

Napravnik came back in the nightcap at Churchill Downs and won that race, also for trainer Larry Jones.

Jones said that Rosie fits most of his fillies well. “I don’t know what her super-strong suit is. I’ve seen her go through some holes that I can’t believe. She just transfers that confidence on to her horses.”

Napravnik won the 2011-2012 Fair Grounds riding title for the second year in a row.

“I always had confidence in this filly. I told Larry after she ran fourth in the Rachel Alexandra that she was a better filly then what you saw today,” Napravnik said.

“It almost was intimidating sitting behind Johnny Velazquez on Broadway’s Alibi, but I thought I had more horse than he did and my filly kept getting lower and when I got by I just said ‘I got it, I got it’.”

Velazquez said, “I think she handled the track OK but the first time over a track she paddles a lot. She lost momentum. The ground broke away from her. I don’t think the distance hurt her, I think the track didn’t help. She ran a huge race.”

Believe You Can, a daughter of Proud Citizen, paid $29.60, $11.80 and $6.40 for the win.  A crowd of 112,552 was the second largest to ever watch the Oaks run.

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