02/17/2012 4:11PM

Fair Grounds: Napravnik weighing her options for spring

Lou Hodges Jr.
Jockey Rosie Napravnik says she is undecided about where she will ride following the Keeneland spring meet.

After winning the first race on Thursday’s card in New Orleans, Rosie Napravnik found herself in what has become a familiar position: Comfortably atop the Fair Grounds jockey standings.

Napravnik, spending her first winter in New Orleans, romped in the 2010-11 jockeys’ race, her 110 victories during the season 31 more than runner-up Shaun Bridgmohan. This meet, Napravnik took a lead in the standings during opening week and has never relinquished it: After winning the first race Friday, she had 69 winners, 14 more than James Graham and 15 more than Miguel Mena.

With 27 racing days left, Napravnik hasn’t yet locked up her second straight Fair Grounds riding title, but she’s a heavy favorite to hold her lead. The question then will turn to Napravnik’s plans for the spring and summer. Last year, after riding the Keeneland meet (where she won just two races from 66 mounts) and sticking around Kentucky to finish second in the Kentucky Oaks with St. John’s River, Napravnik wound up at her usual summer locale, Delaware Park. This might well be the year Napravnik heads to a bigger stage, but Napravnik said Friday that beyond a return to Keeneland, she hadn’t yet firmed up late spring and early summer plans.

“I’m definitely going to go to Keeneland, but after that there are different options,” Napravnik said. “One is to stay the meet at Churchill, but that’s only one option. I haven’t finalized anything yet.”

Pants On Fire heading to Mineshaft

Pants On Fire, ridden to victory in the 2011 Louisiana Derby by Napravnik, will return to Fair Grounds from Florida to make his 2012 debut in the Feb. 25 Mineshaft Handicap, trainer Kelly Breen confirmed Friday. Napravnik will have the mount in the Grade 3 Mineshaft.

Pants on Fire finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby, won the Pegasus at Monmouth, and finished fifth in the Haskell Invitational after his Louisiana Derby win. Breen said Pants On Fire became “foot-sore” while being trained for a fall 2011 campaign, and that the decision was made to give the horse the rest of the year off.

Pants On Fire has recorded six published workouts at the Palm Meadows training center, two of them bullets, pleasing Breen with preparations for his comeback race.

“I don’t honestly know about his fitness level, but he’s been working excellently at Palm Meadows,” Breen said.

Pants On Fire, Breen said, would arrive at Fair Grounds on Feb. 22, but whether he travels by van – as he did last season – or by plane has yet to be determined.

The possible field for the Mineshaft also includes Mister Marti Gras, Thiskyhasnolimit, Fast Alex, Alma d’Oro, and Gleam of Hope.

◗ Joinem, who shipped to Gulfstream Park to win a third-level turf allowance race last weekend after a race at that class level failed to fill at Fair Grounds, was on his way back to New Orleans on Friday and is an intended starter in the Mervin Muniz Handicap on closing day, trainer David Carroll said.