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May 9, 2011

Girl Power!

by DePaolo Equine Concepts

Although horse racing is a very controversial subject, undoubtedly the females have made gallant strides recently in the race industry and especially at the 2011 Kentucky Derby.

There were 2 female head trainers with horses entered in the 2011 derby and one female jockey. Kathy Ritvo, trainer of Mucho Macho Man, was born into a racing family has been training for over two decades.  Ritvo underwent a heart transplant in 2008 after a grueling 7 month stay in the hospital waiting for a donor.  Six months after her surgery she was back on the track training again and now just a few years later she was watching the Derby from the coveted trainers box.

Watch Me Go’s trainer Kathleen O’Connell, a native of Detroit, Michigan, started out riding show horses as a youth before taking a job at the race track walking horses at age 19.She moved her stable to Florida in 1985 and became the first female trainer to ever win a training title at Calder Race Course in 2010.

Don’t forget about the female jockey, Anna (Rosie) Napravnik, who had her first start at the Derby this year aboard Pants On Fire. Napravnik burst on to the racing scene in 2005 when she made her first career start a winning one aboard Ringofdiamonds. In 2006, she won all four riding titles at Pimlico and Laurel Park and was runner-up as the nation’s top apprentice. She also won the Grade 2 $1 Million Louisiana Derby.

So although this may have not been the ladies’ year, don’t think they are going to go away from the championship circle anytime soon.

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