06/01/2006 11:00PM

Pimlico: No regrets for dropout


On the day when her former high school classmates were preparing for graduation ceremonies, Rosie Napravnik rode two more winners at Pimlico.

"I didn't even realize they were graduating tonight," said Napravnik when reminded last Friday that it was graduation day at Hereford High School in Baltimore County.

Napravnik, 18, dropped out of school after completing her junior year to focus on her budding career as a jockey. She plans to take her GED test this summer. Napravnik said she considers the first year she has spent as an apprentice rider to be an invaluable education in more ways than one.

"I have learned so much this year," she said. "The people in high school will never get to experience what I have.

"From dealing with the public, the press, and the fans, I have learned much more than I would have in high school. It has been an amazing year."

Since winning with her first mount last June, Napravnik wasted little time in becoming the top rider in Maryland. She captured her first riding title during the winter meet at Laurel Park and hasn't missed a beat since Maryland racing shifted to Pimlico in mid-April. Through Thursday, Napravnik had an formidable 48-17 lead over Ryan Fogelsonger at the Pimlico meet, which ends next Saturday. Nationally, she ranks fourth with 150 winners.

"I'm really driven toward success, and I have a lot of good people supporting me, guiding me, telling me which is the best way to do things," Napravnik said.

* Smart Enough, ridden by Joe Rocco Jr. for trainer John Fisher, broke Pimlico's five-furlong turf course record on May 26 when he won the seventh race in 55.73 seconds. The previous record of 55.99 seconds had been set in 2004 by Yankee Wildcat.