04/29/2013 1:36PM

Kentucky Derby: Rosie Napravnik aces '60 Minutes' interview

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Barbara D. Livingston
Rosie Napravnik, being interviewed last summer at Saratoga, appeared on “60 minutes” Sunday. She rides Mylute in the Kentucky Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Cameras were clicking on the Churchill Downs backstretch Monday morning, the norm in the media storm of Derby Week. Most were focused on the racetrack, capturing the leading Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks runners as they galloped and breezed around the track.

But at least a couple others were aimed at a jockey, Rosie Napravnik, as she merely walked the Churchill backstretch in the midst of one of many media interviews she is sure to have this week. Twice in a five-minute span, people with cell-phone cameras snapped her photo, as if they were photographing a television star.

In a way they were. Just the night before, Napravnik, 25, was featured in a 13-minute segment on “60 Minutes,” one of the most-watched programs on television. According to Nielsen ratings, the show regularly draws more than 10 million viewers a week.

“You get a little nervous and hope it turns out well, but they did an excellent job with it,” she said of the “60 Minutes” interview. “I think it was really good for the sport, especially this time of year.”

The interview with correspondent Bob Simon, called “Rosie’s Run for the Roses,” profiled her achievements as a female rider in a male-dominated profession; her family’s hands-on, blue-collar involvement in the horse industry; and her quest to win the Kentucky Derby.

Napravnik said the filming lasted several months, beginning in late January when juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby finished second under her in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream. Camera crews then filmed her at her winter base at Fair Grounds, capturing her riding at that track, and interviewed her in her New Orleans home. Other footage was shot at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.

Napravnik was affable and professional throughout the television interview, and couldn’t be baited by Simon into silliness. When she described “smooching” to a horse during a race – a kissing-like sound made by jockeys to encourage their mounts to run faster – Simon asked her to “smooch” for the television audience, a question unlikely to have been asked of a male jockey.

“I’m not going to make the noise on “60 Minutes,” she told him bluntly but with a smile. “I have limits.”

The “60 Minutes” crew seemed to be betting on Shanghai Bobby being Napravnik’s mount in the Kentucky Derby, interviewing the colt’s trainer, Todd Pletcher, and filming Shanghai Bobby in both the Holy Bull and when he ran fifth in the Florida Derby.

But when Shanghai Bobby ran poorly in the Florida Derby, and was later discovered to have pelvic stress fracture, he fell off the Derby trail.

Instead, her Derby mount will come aboard Louisiana Derby runner-up Mylute, a horse deemed a longshot by most handicappers, though perhaps not ultimately by the betting public, with Napravnik’s growing fan base sure to support her.

She would become the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. Six females have ridden in the race – Napravnik, Diane Crump, P.J. Cooksey, Andrea Seefeldt, Julie Krone, and Rosemary Homeister Jr. – and none has come close to victory.

Napravnik’s ninth-place finish aboard Pants On Fire in 2011 ranks as the best finish.

It speaks of Napravnik’s popularity that when she rode Pants On Fire in 2011 the horse went off as the 8-1 second choice in the betting despite being 20-1 odds on the morning line. And that was long before “60 Minutes,” and, for that matter, a recent profile in New York Times Magazine.

“I think the ‘Rosie effect’ puts Mylute somewhere around 15-1 instead of the 25-1 or 30-1 he should be,” said Mylute’s trainer, Tom Amoss.

Meanwhile, in the days leading up to the Derby, Napravnik is simply enjoying the small things that have come from her “60 Minutes” fame.

“Hey,” she said, pointing down to her phone in the midst of walking the backstretch. “I picked up 400 more ‘likes’ on Facebook since last night.”

The full “60 Minutes” interview can be viewed online at www.cbsnews.com/60-minutes/.

Herman Tanner More than 1 year ago
Good Luck, CRACKLIN ROSIE,and to me for bettin on You
Herman Tanner More than 1 year ago
an MYLUTE.
Jacka Diamond More than 1 year ago
Rosie is a good jock; not great: but strictly from a gender perspective one of the greatest female riders hands down. Hasnt quite surpassed Krone yet but if her torrid pace continues she will soon.
Phil Johnwell More than 1 year ago
Julie Krone is the all time female Jockey as of date and she was a pioneer as well for women.
Phil Johnwell More than 1 year ago
I like Rose Napravnik..she's one of my favorite Jockeys !
Edward Tiger More than 1 year ago
Always Wonder why nomatter the Subject some Pompus arrogant idiot has to make a sarcastic comment,,,,on what is written,,,,,,Save it Jon
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Edward, if you are going to use big words, spell them correctly. People will take you a little more seriously.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
There is a reason its called horse racing and not jockey racing...rosie is an ok jockey and is very pretty which helps her get followers just like chantel sunderland ..but Julie krone is still the standard bearer.
ted More than 1 year ago
Win or lose Rose is the best female jockey ever
john p More than 1 year ago
NO way! Julie Krone hands down was the best!!!! And she was tough as nails riding against the best jockey ever every day!
noalaistoday More than 1 year ago
I think Rosie is one of the top 15 Jocks right now. However, she has to go aways to be compared to Julie Krone. Krone rode in the toughest competion and took all the crap much more so then Rosie. In time, if she keeps up this pace for the next 5 to 10 years then you can compare her to Julie.
Phil Johnwell More than 1 year ago
Hmmm She hasn't reached Julie Crone status yet...Just saying !
rtb1003 More than 1 year ago
Real good interview as far as Rosie's concerned , however with CBS not even as much as mention Julie Krone, by far and away the greatest woman jockey of all time, I would consider irresponsible journalism...
noalaistoday More than 1 year ago
It was obvious Bob Simon knows didley about horse racing.
N Lad More than 1 year ago
Rosie is an absolute starlet.
Jerry Sabo More than 1 year ago
I have a whole new respect for Rosie. Interview was great.