10/31/2014 7:45PM

Untapable caps big year with Distaff win

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Barbara D. Livingston
Untapable and jockey Rosie Napravnik score by 1 1/4 lengths in the Breeders' Cup Distaff on Friday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Meet the new queen of the distaff division, and say goodbye to a star female jockey.

Untapable overcame a wide trip and a stubborn pacesetter to win the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Friday at Santa Anita, stamping herself as a legitimate star in her first try against older fillies and mares.

As for jockey Rosie Napravnik, her surprise post-race revelation was that she is seven weeks’ pregnant and would retire from riding after this weekend.

“It’s a very special way to go out,” Napravnik said. “I am retiring from riding on Sunday. Joe (Sharp, her husband) and I are going to start a family.”

Sharp is a trainer in Kentucky.

The surprise announcement will share headlines with the Distaff win by Untapable, which came before a 37,205 ontrack crowd.

Trained by Steve Asmussen and owned by Ron Winchell, Untapable was wide much of the race over an inside-favoring track. She won by 1 1/4 lengths over Don’t Tell Sophia, who collared pacesetter Iotapa in the final stride.

While the Distaff was the official coming-out party for Untapable and unofficial goodbye for Napravnik, the race may also have spelled the end for Close Hatches. The second favorite, she was parked wide and finished last, her second straight subpar performance.

"I can't offer an excuse," said Bill Mott, who trains Close Hatches, "but it looks like she's had enough."

Meanwhile, the career of the 3-year-old Untapable is hitting full steam. She will stay in training next year. The win was her eighth from 11 starts; she is 6 for 7 this year.

Untapable will need a new rider when she returns. Napravnik has been the regular rider for Untapable most of her career, including her Kentucky Oaks smasher in May.

The Distaff was a lot tougher than the Oaks. Breaking from post 10 in the Distaff, Untapable was four wide into the first turn, unable to save ground at any stage, rallied into contention on the far turn and into lane, and was fully extended to get past Iotapa.

The wide trip did not concern Napravnik. “I didn’t have any problem with going wide. I was sitting on a lot of horse,” she said.

It was not the first time she won despite a compromising trip; she did the same thing in late September at Parx when she won the Grade 1 Cotillion.

“I don’t think anything she did this year was easy,” Asmussen said.

The final time for the 1 1/8 miles was a slow 1:41.68. Untapable returned $5.20 as the betting favorite.

Tiz Midnight set the pace inside, hounded by Iotapa. Tiz Midnight set fractions of 22.93 and 46.73 seconds. On far turn, Tiz Midnight backed up. The six-furlong time was 1:10.95. Iotapa inherited the lead and tried to hold off Untapable.

The fifth- through 12th-place finishers were Unbridled Forever, Tiz Midnight, Stanwyck, Valiant Emilia, Bella Gallantey, L’Amour de Ma Vie, and Close Hatches.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to go out,” Napravnik said. However, there are more Breeders’ Cup races to run. Friday was not the finale for Napravnik.

“Oh, no, I’m riding [Saturday],” she said, laughing. “Just as well as I rode today, hopefully. I feel wonderful. I feel great.”

– additional reporting by Steve Andersen

Steve Ulen More than 1 year ago
Hell of a filly!! Already looking forward to see her in '15...she is crazy good.
shawn kennedy More than 1 year ago
Watch the head on replay- horse gets bumped but not hit with the stick.
Kurt More than 1 year ago
DRF- not at all impressed with new website. Can you at least darken up the words on the Entries and Results pages. Or do we have to be DRF+ members for that now?
Darrell Gross More than 1 year ago
Kurt, sadly the short answer is YES, we (you, me and everyone else) have to DRF+ Members. But on the BRIGHT SIDE is that Bloodhorse.com has the same races covered and very good writers and have the VIDEOs of each stakes race LONG before DRF!!
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Does Untapable go to Horse of the Year?
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
No, regardless of what happens in the Classic, because of her loss in the Haskell. That said, she's had a great year and certainly deserves the Eclipse for fllly or mare champion.
B More than 1 year ago
I think it's quite possible, BUT only if all of the big four three year olds lose the Classic.
Joey W More than 1 year ago
Without a doubt she catches Iotapa with the stick. Oh and this idiot tried to tell everyone that Close Hatches was done as a distance horse. It's all in the breeding. Her struggle in the last at Keeneland took away any chance of her being a contender in this one. It was a chalky day Friday, I do think we will see some good prices on Saturday. Good luck to everyone.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
I had Untapable and closed hatches like everybody else. But Rosie does whip IOTAPA in the face in the stretch .of course no jock was going to make an objection against racings darling and the stewards were going to ignore the fact that it may have cost IOTAPA 2ND. But that racing in America today .ROSIE is great and I wish her the best in her new carrier as mom.but she should have at the very least seen the inquiry sign.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
sorry auto fill problems read... that's racing in America today...and career instead of carrier.
andre johnson More than 1 year ago
I'm somewhat angry at rosie for retiring! She's too young and brilliant to call it a day. That being said, what a career it has been.One of the best riders of her generation,period.As far as female riders go, I rank her a close second to the great julie krone,only because julie had a much longer career.
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
I watched the race and thought I was watching something totally different than the announcers were telling me. I thought I saw Rosie drift sharply inward at the top of the stretch, then her whip smacked the chin of iotapa. Iotapa's head rises and causes the horse to drift towards the rail. Did NBC put a mike on Rosie ? Because the replay of the event, I hear some harsh words instantly after the event. How come the mig and j.d. Bailey didn't see what I saw ? Wasn't it great having o'neill and asmussen win ? Then we got hear that asmussen is one of the most talented and classiest trainers in the country. Iotapa lost third place by only a nose, so she lost a placing due to the interference. This is what the stewards have taught us. But this time there wasn't any change. It Is only a difference of $160,000. Can we please everything non fiction. Good luck to the sharp family.
RandomNameMeToo More than 1 year ago
"Because the replay of the event, I hear some harsh words instantly after the event. " ??? What? "Can we please everything non fiction." ??? Again, I have no idea what you mean. "How come the mig and j.d. Bailey didn't see what I saw ?" Because you didn't see what you thought you saw, probably. If Iotapa's jockey thought that any interference had occurred, wouldn't he have lodged an objection?
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
it did happen its right there in the video.the head on was even clearer. and to your second question ..nobody was going to object or put up an inquiry sign against racings darling especially knowing she was riding preggers,and trust me there are no secrets in racing she may have surprised the public with her announcement, but her agent and the trainers knew so everybody knew she.had to let her agent know not to book any future mounts. in the sport of kings royalty gets treated different. that's why Phipps horses don't get disqualified for example .and Rosie can do no wrong.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
This woman was one of my favorite people in sports. Hope she has a bless life after racing. Go Rosie Go
Crickett Hoffman More than 1 year ago
Rosie to her child in the future: "I won the Breeders' Cup Distaff while I was carrying you." Gonna miss you girl. You're the best.