03/05/2009 12:00AM

Napravnik glad spill wasn't worse


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Finishing fifth never felt so good to jockey Anna Napravnik.

That's where Napravnik finished aboard Boss Tiffany in Thursday's second race at Aqueduct. But the fact that Napravnik was riding at all was pretty miraculous considering her involvement in an ugly five-horse spill here the previous day.

Napravnik, who broke her back in 2007, landed on her back again in the spill, but sustained no significant injuries. She took off her remaining three mounts on Wednesday and did go to the hospital for precautionary X-rays, which were negative.

She woke up Thursday morning feeling remarkably well and rode all four of her mounts.

"I feel actually really good, better than expected,'' Napravnik said after her first mount back. "I'm glad to be here today.''

While Napravnik was back to work on Thursday, two of her fellow riders, Eddie Castro, and Victor Santiago, took off their mounts due to general body soreness. Both were hopeful of returning on Friday. Castro was aboard the filly Private Details, who broke down approaching the quarter pole on Thursday. That started a chain reaction in which four other horses fell, unseating their jockeys. Private Details had to be euthanized but the other four horses were reported to be uninjured.

Jockeys Ramon Dominguez and Joseph Berrios, who were also involved in the spill, rode on Wednesday and Thursday.

While the New York Racing Association declined to show the spill on its nightly recap show Wednesday, Napravnik said she watched a replay of the incident several times.

"I like to see how you fall and why you fall and if there's anything to learn about how to fall correctly,'' Napravnik said. "I've had too many of these for only doing this four years.''

Napravnik, 21, has enjoyed a stellar first winter in New York, winning 28 races from 229 mounts, good enough for fifth place in the rider standings.

Russell involved in spill

Apprentice jockey Sheldon Russell was taken to North Shore University Hospital for precautionary X-rays on his right elbow after he was unseated in Thursday's eighth race.

Russell was aboard Sigh You, a 6-year-old New York-bred gelding, who broke down in his left foreleg approaching the quarter pole while stalking the front-running Leap Day. Sigh You, beaten 85 lengths in his previous two starts, had to be euthanized on track, the eighth racing fatality on the New York Racing Association circuit in 2009.

Russell walked into the ambulance under his own power and was taken to First-Aid. After being examined there, the decision was made to transport him by ambulance to North Shore for precautionary X-rays, his agent, Bill Castle, said.

"He can flex it, he can move it, it's just for peace of mind,'' said Castle.

Russell had to take off his mount in the ninth race.

Rice, Levine barns robbed

A former employee of trainer Bruce Levine was arrested by Nassau County police after stealing approximately $30,000 of equipment from the Belmont Park barns of Levine and Linda Rice over the weekend.

Juan Bonilla-Pena, 49 was arrested on Monday and charged with criminal possession of stolen goods. Bonilla-Pena stole two pieces of equipment from Levine, including a magnetic blanket and a laser that's used to treat splint injuries. Those machines were recovered.

Rice, who had just moved her horses to Barn 1 on Saturday while her Barn 44 was undergoing a month-long renovation, said she had 20 bridles and 20 saddles taken. She estimated the cost of her stolen equipment at $20,000. Three of her saddles were recovered.

"We moved out on Saturday; by Monday my assistant called me at 5 in the morning to tell me they had a break-in,'' said Rice, who was in Florida attending a horse auction at Calder at the time. "Never a dull moment in New York.''

Levine confirmed that Bonilla-Pena had worked for him, but said he had not done so for more than a year.