I saw a post on Instagram over the weekend that made me laugh out loud. It said, "if Monday morning were a student, it would be that awkward girl who reminds the teacher about homework and loves horses." For the record, that's not me, I do have a thing for horses, but not homework.
That girl (whomever she is) and I do have something in common. We are gearing up for a great weekend. This Saturday, always the first Saturday in May, is the Kentucky Derby. The Run for the Roses. The first leg of the Triple Crown. For horse-racing fans, it's a favorite. This marks the 139th year of the Kentucky Derby, where an elite group of 3-year-old Thoroughbreds run one mile and one quarter track. It takes a little over two minutes, but it's been dubbed "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports."
The Kentucky Derby ushers in an entire month of horse-racing mania for me and for millions of others. It's followed by the Preakness Stakes later in May, and the Belmont Stakes in June. And if the horse lords have any say in the matter, a Triple Crown winner will be coronated at the end of it all.
But believe it or not, the horses may be the "mane" event, but they are not the whole story. There are the trainers, owners, and jockeys who all figure in this race front and center. And one jockey in particular this year, has me doing a victory lap before the horses are even saddled up.
Her name is Rosie Napravnik. That's right, I said "her." Rosie is one of only a few successful female jockeys in history -- and she's the only female to be running for the roses this year, although this isn't even her first time doing so. Rosie rode Pants on Fire in the 2011 Derby and finished ninth, the best finish ever for a woman at the Derby.
Rosie comes to the Derby already riding high, having just come off a big victory at the 2012 Kentucky Oaks, the first female ever to win there. Since she started her professional career eight years ago, she's racked up more than $48 million in winnings and this year, has been in the money 60 percent of the times she left the starting gate.
Horse-racing is one sport where men and women compete against each other, and from what I've heard, some studs aren't ready for such a ride. Rosie recently said in an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, "There are still owners and trainers that don't want to ride a female. The only way I deal with that is... to try to beat that person in a race." And, that she does.
Twenty-five year old Rosie is hoping to ride into the history books this weekend at Churchill Downs, and silence all those "neigh-sayers" once and for all. I'll be watching for the ginger-haired girl from Jersey (not me, the other one) as she and her horse, Mylute, make their Run for the Roses.
I wonder if Rosie was ever that awkward 7th grade girl, loving horses and her homework. This one can only hope so.
Peace Love Profits,