04/14/2009 11:00PM

Napravnik leaves town with a smile


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - A year before she decided to ride here, Anna Napravnik told her agent, Bob Klesaris, that she would succeed in New York.

Despite a rough start, Napravnik certainly enjoyed a successful stint in New York this winter, one that comes to an end on Friday. Following Friday's card at Aqueduct, Napravnik is slated to return to the Mid-Atlantic region where she will be based at Delaware Park, but will also ride at Pimlico and Philadelphia Park.

Napravnik is named on Cowgirls Don't Cry in Saturday's Bed o' Roses Handicap here, but that horse is expected to run at Charles Town that night instead.

Napravnik, who rode mostly in the Mid-Atlantic region, finished Aqueduct's inner-track meet as the fifth leading rider in wins (39) and sixth in purse money won ($1.1 million). Though she has gone just 1 for 24 since the main track opened, Napravnik is pleased with what she accomplished for her first time riding in New York.

"The one thing I said to Bob a year before I came here, 'If I go to New York I will make it,' '' Napravnik said Wednesday in the Aqueduct jockeys' room before the races. "I was pretty stubborn about sticking it out. There were a lot of people telling me I should go back to Maryland. I was hell bent on staying here and doing good. I'm really happy the way we finished out the inner track meet. I'm really excited about coming back next year.''

Napravnik only won two races in December. A rider who had known nothing but success since she started in 2005, Napravnik came alive in January, riding nine winners. In February, her 17 wins ranked second to Ramon Dominguez - the inner track's leading rider - for the month. She won 11 races in March.

Napravnik will head to Delaware, where she figures to battle for leading rider with Jeremy Rose, but she does plan to return to New York next November. She said staying year-round in New York at this time "is not realistic."

"The competition gets much tougher once everyone gets back from Keeneland,'' Napravnik added. "I mean Saratoga - there are so many more experienced riders to choose from before you'd get to me; I'd be 20 deep. Hopefully, within a couple of years of doing the Delaware-New York thing I will end up being able to stay.''

Seattle Smooth returns

Seattle Smooth, who ended her 3-year-old season with an upset of divisional champion Proud Spell in the Grade 2 Fitz Dixon Cotillion, will kick off her 4-year-old season in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Bed o' Roses Handicap at seven furlongs.

A field of seven was entered for the Bed o' Roses, but it's unlikely all will run. Cowgirls Don't Cry, last year's Grade 2 Shuvee winner, is entered in Saturday's $250,000 Sugar Maple Stakes at Charles Town and is expected to run there. Lovely Isle, trained by Bobby Frankel, is also questionable.

Seattle Smooth began her career in Southern California, where she had mixed results on the synthetic surfaces of Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. Since coming east last summer, Seattle Smooth won the Go for Wand Stakes at Delaware Park and the Cotillion on Sept. 20. She was given the remainder of the year off, with designs on a 4-year-old campaign, according to trainer Tony Dutrow.

Ramon Dominguez will ride Seattle Smooth from post 5. Distorted Passion, who won the Correction over the inner track, and Spritely, a recent 6 3/4-length allowance winner, make up an uncoupled entry from trainer Todd Pletcher. Spritely is cross-entered in the Sugar Maple. Awesome I Am, who won two overnight stakes over the inner track, and Are We Dreamin complete the field.

Tale of Ekati points to Met Mile

After Tale of Ekati finished last in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap, jockey Edgar Prado told trainer Barclay Tagg that the colt was not moving as well as he had in his previous races. But in the 10 days that followed since the race, Tale of Ekati - a multiple Grade 1 winner - is showing no signs of anything being amiss so he will continue down the path to the Grade 1 Metropolitan handicap at Belmont on May 25.

On Tuesday, Tale of Ekati worked four furlongs in 48.12 seconds over the Belmont main track under exercise rider and former jockey Rachel Muzikar.

"She said he felt fabulous,'' assistant trainer Robin Smullen said. "She's been on a lot of horses so she should know if one feels good or not.''

Smullen said that Tale of Ekati would be nominated to the Grade 3, $100,000 Westchester at Belmont on April 29, but said she didn't know for sure if he would run in that race.

"We'll see where we are,'' Smullen said. "We think the horse is doing so well and he's had two poor races.''

Imperial Council points to Peter Pan

Imperial Council, the 3-year-old who finished fifth as the second betting choice in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, worked a half-mile in 51.10 seconds Tuesday morning. Trainer Shug McGaughey said he is pointing the colt to the Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan at Belmont on May 9.

McGaughey said that he plans to do a lot of schooling with Imperial Council, who got extremely upset in the Aqueduct paddock before the Wood, rearing up twice and falling on his back once.

"Coming up from Payson Park he was maybe a little keener than I would have liked,'' McGaughey said. "He was waiting for something to set him and whatever it was that set him off really set him off.''

McGaughey said that Gone Astray, who won a first-level allowance race here on the Wood undercard, would be pointed to the Grade 3, $150,000 Withers Stakes here on April 25.

NYRA postpones Mullins case

The New York Racing Association's Barn Area Violations Panel has postponed by one week a scheduled hearing with trainer Jeff Mullins regarding his actions in the race-day security barn that led to the stewards scratching Gato Go Win from the April 4 Bay Shore Stakes. The hearing will now be held April 23.

Mullins was observed by security guards administering the medication Air Power to Gato Go Win just a few hours before he was to race, a violation of the race-day security barn policy.

Meanwhile, the stewards were scheduled to have a conference on Thursday with Mullins, who will participate by phone. It is possible the stewards could assess a penalty at that time.

* My Dinah ($34.40), ridden by Jose Espinoza, outfinished a stubborn Successful Sarah to win Wednesday's $66,950 Illiterate Stakes by a half-length. My Dinah, a 4-year-old trained by Kathleen Feron for the Akindale Farm, covered the mile in 1:38.92 in the mud.