Fair Grounds Press Release
NEW ORLEANS— On Saturday, March 4, retired jockey and horse advocate Rosie Napravnik will be on site at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots to spearhead the third annual “New Vocations Day at the Races.”
A four-time local riding champion who was instrumental in the opening of the New Vocations facility in Covington, Louisiana, Napravnik will join host Joe Kristufek on the live feed during the racing day to help build awareness, promote success stories and inspire donations for Thoroughbred aftercare.
“I am elated to be having our third annual New Vocations Day at Fair Grounds,” Napravnik said. “Since its inception, our Louisiana satellite facility has been a great success and it’s my honor to dedicate a day to promoting local aftercare by showing off the horses and the work that these ladies have done right here in Covington. This year I am excited to have New Vocations executive director Anna Ford also joining Joe and me on set to talk about the program!”
Held for the first time at Fair Grounds in 2021, the “New Vocations Day at the Races” has raised over $10,000 in unique donations from fans and people within the industry, including horsemen, horse owners and jockeys.
“Before and after my riding career, I’ve been exposed to a lot of the other things that horses can do, and that’s a big part of the reason why I’m so passionate about it and why it’s so important to me,” Napravnik said in regards to Thoroughbred aftercare. “I have a lot of experience in the other disciplines and I’ve seen retired racehorses really excel. I got my first off-the-track Thoroughbred back in 2008 and watching him transform, his potential, his trainability, his eagerness to do something else and to learn new things and please really inspired me. After riding so many of those horses and seeing how much they put out for us on the racetrack, it’s just something I can’t avoid making a part of my life.”
For the first time this year, owners, jockeys and trainers can contribute a financial donation to the Louisiana chapter of New Vocations directly through the horsemen’s bookkeeper. Contact Emily Miller or Diana Bosco at 504-948-1254. In addition, contributions are welcome through the New Vocations website — visit https://horseadoption.org/donate and click the button with Rosie’s picture on it in the top row to complete the process.
“We are very excited about the success we’ve had with the success we’ve had putting on this show,” Napravnik said. “So many influential people within the industry have jumped into action, making donations and encouraging others on social media to do so as well. We are very grateful for the HBPA and the horseman in Louisiana for supporting our efforts. Our program continues to expand, and we are excited to share our growth from the past year.”
Napravnik, who won 1,878 races in her ten-year career, retired in 2014 following her Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) win with Untapable. In 2012 she became the first female rider to capture the Kentucky Oaks (G1), guiding Believe You Can to victory, and she won the race again just two years later with Untapable. She is married to trainer Joe Sharp and together they have two sons, Carson and Tucker.
“Rosie is one of our favorites,” said Fair Grounds senior director of racing Jason Boulet. “It’s great to have her back at the Fair Grounds to help shed light on such an important cause and to share her valuable insight with the fans. We look forward to continue to build on the success of this event year after year.”
Recognizing the need for expanded Thoroughbred aftercare in Louisiana, Napravnik reached out to New Vocations, the largest racehorse adoption program in the country, in the fall of 2019. With Napravnik taking on a leadership role under the umbrella of New Vocations, they received a start-up grant from the Right Horse, which allowed the program to open a facility in Louisiana.
“The Right Horse grant funded almost half of running the program for the first two years,” said New Vocations Thoroughbred program director Anna Ford. “That really helped us get on our feet. Then the Louisiana HBPA stepped in and have helped the program grow and ultimately serve more horses.”
Since opening their doors in 2019, the Louisiana division of New Vocations has served 174 horses. There are currently 22 horses in the program.
“Moving into our fourth year, our Louisiana facility continues to thrive and our team has done a wonderful job with each horse that has entered the program,” Ford said. “The continued support from Louisianan HBPA has played a huge role in the facility’s success. We are also seeing more and more local owners, breeders and trainers reach out to utilize our services as well as support our efforts. We are grateful to have the Fair Grounds hosting another New Vocations Day at the Races. We hope the event will continue to raise awareness about our Louisiana facility and the services we provide to the racing community.”
Race 7 on Saturday’s card will be dedicated to New Vocations and racehorse aftercare. Representatives from Fair Grounds at the Louisiana HBPA will be on hand to present a $117,000 check, $27,000 of which comes directly from the track. This represents the amount accrued the past 12 months as part of the “starters match” program.
“New Vocations is an organization the Fair Grounds is proud to support each year,” said Fair Grounds president Doug Shipley. “Their dedication to rehabilitating, retraining and rehoming horses deserves the upmost respect. We encourage everyone interested to support this amazing cause.”
On Saturday, Napravnik will join track announcer John G. Dooley on the pre-race “Fair Grounds Today” show and partner with simulcast host Joe Kristufek during the racing card to provide information on how to donate a horse, how to adopt a horse, and how fans can contribute to the cause. She will also share adoption success stories, which will be supported by video of retired racehorses thriving in their second careers.
“I want to help make sure that horses have the opportunity to do something after racing because they really deserve it,” Napravnik said. “They have so much life ahead of them when their racing career is over. I can’t ignore that, especially in a place like Louisiana that has such a high demand for organizations to help bridge that gap.”
In addition to promoting Thoroughbred aftercare awareness, Napravnik will also offer her race-by-race selections via the “expert picks” videos on twinspires.com and the Twin Spires app, and on the simulcast feed.
“During my riding career, I never handicapped to pick the winner, I handicapped to make my horse the winner,” Napravnik said. “But there’s a lot of insight I can give on how each of the riders could see the race unfolding and how it might play out from a pace and trip perspective. I truly enjoy being on the show and handicapping the races with Joe so it will be another fun and exciting day as we raise awareness and funds for aftercare in Louisiana!”