“I honestly feel like I have not missed a beat,” said Napravnik, the 2006 Eclipse Award winning runner-up for outstanding apprentice. “I am getting really experienced at bouncing back from injuries and I feel like I never left. I worked horses for about three weeks before I rode my first race (last Saturday at Delaware Park) and was in an intense therapy program at the same time working out four hours a day-five days a week. I really worked hard getting fit and I think it has paid off.”
“Nobody hesitated to go to me right off the bat which says a lot,” added Napravnik, who won 300 races in 2006 and swept all four riding titles at the major Maryland tracks that year. “I am very competitive and that is my nature. I have sort of a mentor here (Maryland Jockey Club clerk of scales Adam Campola) who told me he watched my first race back and thought it was the best I have ever looked. That type of stuff motivates me and it is funny because I felt so strong that first race, which is unusual.”
Date Track Injury Time Missed
November 12, 2005 Laurel Park fractured left collarbone 5 weeks
January 26, 2007 Laurel Park multiple fractures in back 2 ½ months
July 6, 2007 Colonial Downs broken left wrist 4 months
August 2, 2008 Delaware Park broken left leg 3 months
“The first three major injuries I had a very positive attitude all through the layoff,” Napravnik said. “This time there was a period where I felt bitter. I was sick of getting injured and then I had to snap out of it and get back into positive mode because there is nothing you can do about it. Injuries are part of the game and there is no reason why it cannot happen to me again but things happen for a reason and it seems every time I’ve gotten hurt it seems somehow something positive happens. That is my thought process right now.”
She and agent Bob Klesaris have committed to ride in Maryland through the balance of the year but would like to relocate to Aqueduct for the winter meet beginning January 1, 2009.
“He is very optimistic,” said Napravnik. “The ironic thing about this accident was almost the same timing as last year. I was planning on going to New York for the winter but thought it was best for me to stay here. The plan this year was to go to New York once the Delaware meet ended (Nov 11) but we’ll take it day by day. I really believe things are right on track and we are moving forward.”
Napravnik has five mounts on Saturday’s nine-race card, including one aboard Dr Rico in the $50,000 Find Handicap.