Updated on 11/20/2014 3:18PM

Napravnik tops finalists for Woolf Award

Emily Shields
Rosie Napravnik heads a list of five riders named as finalists for the 2015 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.

Rosie Napravnik, who recently announced her retirement from riding to start a family, heads a list of five riders named Thursday by Santa Anita as finalists for the 2015 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.

James Graham, Mike Luzzi, Leslie Mawing, and Corey Nakatani – all men – are the other finalists for the award, which has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950. The award is held in conjunction with the Jockeys’ Guild and is voted on by jockeys nationwide.

If Napravnik were to win, she would be the first female rider so honored. Julie Krone, the only female jockey in the Hall of Fame, has never won the award.

The Woolf Award is presented to a jockey whose career and personal character earn esteem for both the rider and the sport. It is named in memory of the Hall of Fame jockey who suffered fatal injuries following a racing accident at Santa Anita on Jan. 3, 1946.

The winner will be announced in January and is usually presented with the award in March.

Napravnik, 26, announced her retirement shortly after winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Oct. 31 with Untapable. She won 1,878 races, including two victories in the Kentucky Oaks and two in Breeders’ Cup races.

Graham, 35, is a native of Ireland who rides primarily at Fair Grounds during the winter and Arlington Park during the summer. He was the leading rider at Arlington this past year. Graham has won 1,893 races.

Luzzi, 45, was the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice rider in 1989. A long-time mainstay on the New York circuit, he has ridden 3,420 winners. Luzzi earlier this month suffered a fractured leg and several fractures to his pelvis in a paddock accident at Aqueduct.

Mawing, 40, has ridden throughout the country but now rides at Golden Gate Fields during the winter and in the summers at Emerald Downs, where he was the leading rider this past year. A native of South Africa, Mawing has ridden 2,239 winners.

Nakatani, 44, veteran on the Southern California circuit, has ridden 3,748 winners, including 10 in Breeders’ Cup races.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Mike Luzzi won the apprentice Eclipse Award in 1988. Luzzi won the award in 1989.