Female jockey Napravnik nets upset at Fair Grounds

“He’s just a really nice horse to ride. ... He was all push-button and the best horse today.” Rosie Napravnik, jockey, on Delaunay, who claimed the Thanksgiving Handicap

In an opening-day upset, Rosie Napravnik, the top female jockey in the United States, rode 5-year-old Delaunay to victory Thursday in the 87th running of the Thanksgiving Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course.

Delaunay posted a time of 1 minute, 8.95 seconds to beat defending champion and favorite Gantry, who came in second, 21/2 lengths behind. Cash Refund pulled in third.

“He’s just a really nice horse to ride,” Napravnik said. “(Trainer Tom Amoss) told me he was pretty versatile and just asking him to do whatever that you want him to do. He was all push-button and the best horse today.”

This year’s Thanksgiving Handicap carried a $100,000 purse and highlighted a 10-race opening-day card. A crowd of roughly 8,500 jammed the grandstands and clubhouse to carry on the Turkey Day tradition.

It was Napravnik’s first Thanksgiving Handicap victory. The 24-year-old New Jersey native has gradually climbed the national standings since launching her jockeying career 2005.

The highlight of her experience was a ninth-place finish at the 2011 Kentucky Derby aboard Pants on Fire, the best finish for a woman in the history of the world’s most prestigious race. Napravnik will be based in New Orleans for the rest of the Fair Grounds’ 2012-13 season.

Thursday’s triumph for Delaunay also was Amoss’ first victory as a trainer in the Thanksgiving Handicap for the Fair Grounds Hall of Famer.

“I have had plenty of tries at it and just never won it,” Amoss said. “It will be a happy night. Great crowd, great weather and Delaunay showed up, so I can’t ask for more than that.”

Cash Refund took an early lead in the Handicap, with Delaunay running second and Gantry third. But Delaunay pulled ahead about halfway into the six-furlong sprint and maintained his lead through the finish line. Gantry gradually overtook Cash Refund for second.

Gantry, ridden by Richard Eramia, entered as a 7-5 favorite, while Delaunay came in at 9-5. Cash Refund, guided by Miguel Mena, went off at 4-1.

“We couldn’t make up much ground,” said Gantry’s trainer, Ron Faucheux, a New Orleans native. “Our horse ran a good race, but the horse that won it ran an exceptional race. He’s got two on us; hopefully next time it’ll be a different story.”

Thursday’s festivities were capped by the fifth running of the $60,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes, which features solely Louisiana-bred mounts covering about a mile. The race was won by String King, who was ridden by James Graham and trained and owned by Charles Craig Smith. String King posted a winning time of 1:37.82 after starting the race with 9-5 odds.

Eramia rode Heavenville (8-1) to second in the Sulu Stakes for trainer Allen Milligan, while Mena jockeyed Blackntansatlarrys (8-1) to show.

String King ran in fourth place early in the race as Top Cat Boogie took a quick lead. But Top Cat Boogie faded badly down the stretch and finished seventh, while String King, Heavenville and Blackntansatlarrys came on strong in the homestretch.

Napravnik also emerged victorious in two other races Thursday. She jockeyed Jonas Gibson-trained Fantastical to the winner’s circle in the $17,000 second race, then guided Mohijo, trained by Bret Calhoun, to a victory in the seventh race.

Graham also was a multiple winner, taking James Hodges-trained Divine Lorretta to victory in the eighth race. Mena completed a big day by riding Nubin Ridge to triumph in the sixth race.

thursday’s results

First Race - $18,000, Maiden Claiming $15,000, 2 yo, Six Furlongs

Hurricane Krystal (Jacinto) 3.00 2.40 2.20

Sheisbossy (B. Williams) 12.60 8.00

Cat Who Dat (K. Clark) 4.00

Finish Time: 1:12.30

Exacta (3-7) $70.60; Superfecta (3-7-6-1) $1,119.60; Trifecta (3-7-6) $265.20

Late Scratches: Sarah’s Yamaka, Dessert Diva

Second Race - $17,000, Claiming $5,000, 3 yo’s & up, One Mile Seventy Yards

Fantastical (R. Napravnik) 3.20 2.40 2.20

Wajir On Me (M. Mena) 5.00 3.00

Conner Can (C. McMahon) 3.40

Finish Time: 1:44.60

Daily Double (3-2) $5.80; Exacta (2-9) $19.60; Superfecta (2-9-5-8) $669.40; Trifecta (2-9-5) $69.80

Third Race - $39,000, Maiden special weight, 2 yo, Five And A Half Furlongs

Taralicious (J. Theriot) 7.20 4.60 2.80

Chocolat City (R. Napravnik) 5.40 3.00

Yes Sir (J. Graham) 2.20

Finish Time: 1:05.42

Daily Double (2-5) $14.60; Exacta (5-12) $35.20; Superfecta (5-12-9-4) $650.00; Trifecta (5-12-9) $84.20; Pic 3 (3/5/8-2-5) $24.00

Late Scratches: Sarahsintomischief, Pukwudgie, Meghan Claire

Fourth Race - $20,000, Optional claiming $10,000, 3 yo’s & up, Five And A Half Furlongs

Easy Jazz (K. Clark) 20.20 6.40 4.20

Outta Tune (R. Napravnik) 2.40 2.10

Hard Case (J. Jacinto) 4.40

Finish Time: 1:04.08

Daily Double (5-5) $70.40; Exacta (5-6) $48.40; Superfecta (5-6-3-4) $1,863.40; Trifecta (5-6-3) $334.80; Pic 3 (2-5-5) $176.40

Fifth Race - $43,000, Allowance, 3 yo’s & up, Six Furlongs

Yonaguska Storm (Jacinto) 9.20 5.00 3.80

Hud’s Rebellion (R. Eramia) 12.00 6.40

Osidy Again (C. McMahon) 8.20

Finish Time: 1:10.08

Daily Double (5-5) $128.20; Exacta (5-3) $86.00; Superfecta (5-3-10-9) $6,449.00; Trifecta (5-3-10) $979.60; Pic 3 (5-5-5) $426.00; Pic 4 (2-5-5-5) $1,101.60

Sixth Race - $41,000, Allowance, 2 yo, Six Furlongs

Nubin Ridge (M. Mena) 3.60 2.40 2.10

Hero Force (J. Jacinto) 3.40 2.80

One King’s Man (C. McMahon) 5.40

Finish Time: 1:11.48

Daily Double (5-1) $16.20; Exacta (1-3) $7.20; Superfecta (1-3-8-2) $404.80; Trifecta (1-3-8) $52.40; Pic 3 (5-5-1) $219.00

Seventh Race - $39,000, Maiden special weight, 2 yo, Five And A Half Furlongs

Mohijo (R. Napravnik) 5.80 3.20 2.60

I Jus Wana Hav Fun (M. Guidry) 4.20 3.20

Gimme Yo Number (M. Mena) 5.20

Finish Time: 1:05.22

Daily Double (1-5) $15.00; Exacta (5-12) $19.40; Superfecta (5-12-6-10) $1,908.60; Trifecta (5-12-6) $156.20; Pic 3 (5-1-5) $57.80; (5-1-13) $14.20

Late Scratches: Gigi’s Rebel

Eighth Race - $47,000, Allowance, 3 yo’s & up, Seven And A Half Furlongs

Divine Lorretta (Graham) 15.20 8.40 5.60

Malibu Holiday (K. Clark) 20.00 9.80

Myriad (J. Jacinto) 5.20

Finish Time: 1:33.18

Daily Double (5-6) $48.60; Exacta (6-12) $300.40; Superfecta (6-12-10-7) $9,813.80; Trifecta (6-12-10) $2,586.40; Pic 3 (1-5-6) $121.60; (1-13-6) $32.80; (1-5-4) $11.40

Late Scratches: Hoodatcrook, Scarlet Tribute, Harlan Showgirl, Portend

Ninth Race - $100,000, Stakes, 3 yo’s & up, Six Furlongs

Delaunay (R. Napravnik) 4.80 2.80 2.40

Gantry (R. Eramia) 3.00 2.60

Cash Refund (M. Mena) 3.60

Finish Time: 1:08.95

Daily Double (6-6) $54.60; Exacta (6-4) $12.40; Superfecta (6-4-2-5) $241.60; Trifecta (6-4-2) $32.60; Pic 3 (5-6-6) $179.00; (5-8-6) $15.40

Tenth Race - $60,000, Stakes, 3 yo’s & up, One Mile

String King (J. Graham) 5.40 3.40 2.60

Heavenville (R. Eramia) 7.20 4.80

Blackntansatlarrys (M. Mena) 4.20

Finish Time: 1:37.82

Daily Double (6-2) $13.00; Exacta (2-5) $25.40; Superfecta (2-5-9-4) $368.00; High 5 (2-5-9-4-8) $614.80; Trifecta (2-5-9) $140.40; Consolation Double (6-1) $4.40; Pic 3 (6-6-2) $132.80; (6-6-1) $44.60; Pic 4 (5/13-6-6-1/2/7) $560.40; (1-5/13-6-6-1/2/7) $131.00

Late Scratches: Lovely Vin, Kiss My Kriss

Friday’s entries

First Race - $20,000, Maiden Claiming $25,000-$20,000, 2 yo, F (fillies) Six Furlongs

Meghan Claire (R Eramia) 120

Alivia’s Lion (J Jacinto) 120

Gigi’s Rebel (J Melancon) 120

A P Zapper (R Napravnik) 120

Oriental Priestess (K Clark) 120

Sarahsintomischief (C Hernandez) 120

Letter Loose (E Martin, Jr.) 120

Tensas Croup (J Theriot) 120

Second Race - $14,000, Maiden Claiming $10,000, 3, 4, & 5 yo’s One Mile Seventy Yards

Tony Boy (C McMahon) 121

Bad and Tough (L Negron) 121

Traveling Stone (C Bonnet) 121

Hussle for Russell (J Jacinto) 121

Gotta Love Em (R Eramia) 121

Taft Big Boy (J Riquelme) 121

Rebel Rocket (J Theriot) 121

Sir Nat (J Graham) 121

My Friend Tag (C Hernandez) 121

Third Race - $17,000, Claiming $7,500-$6,500, 3 yo’s & up, F & M (fillies and mares) Six Furlongs

Pure Inspiration (C McMahon) 119

Lastochka (B Williams) 119

Envoy’s Production (C Hernandez) 116

Tiffany Blue (J Riquelme) 121

Saintsation (T Porche III) 116

Meloveda (R Napravnik) 119

Ms. Elegant Flyer (J Jacinto) 119

Bwareoflisa (K Clark) 114

Fourth Race - $18,000, Maiden Claiming $15,000, 2 yo Six Furlongs

Ferno (J Jacinto) 120

Skip the Majors (E Martin, Jr.) 117

Drop Off the Kidz (C McMahon) 117

Solar Night (J Graham) 117

Hop Sing (R Eramia) 120

He’s Got Brass (E Guerrero) 120

Millennium Man (K Clark) 117

Hot Water Flyer (J Riquelme) 120

Delbert (R Napravnik) 117

Fifth Race - $39,000, Maiden special weight, 2 yo Five And A Half Furlongs

Executive Call (C Hernandez) 120

Royal Celebration (C McMahon) 120

Warren’s Rebel (J Jacinto) 120

My Native Blues (R Eramia) 120

A Tad High (J Melancon) 120

Burning Force (R Napravnik) 120

Butcher (J Theriot) 120

Illusive Halo (J Graham) 120

Valse (M Guidry) 120

Commander Lee (K Clark) 120

Victory On Ice (R Toups) 120

Dixie Forty Five (J Riquelme) 120

Sparkling Brother (J Melancon) 120

Two Minute Lick (R Eramia) 120

Whispering Charm (R Napravnik) 120

Sixth Race - $43,000, Allowance, 3 yo’s & up, F & M (fillies and mares) Six Furlongs

Eepopporkahah (C McMahon) 118

Divine Providence (K Clark) 120

Dawn’s Tribute (J Graham) 120

Osi Posse (J Jacinto) 118

Say Somethin Good (M Guidry) 120

Tica Caliente (C Bonnet) 118

Patter Flatter (R Napravnik) 120

Practice Squad (J Melancon) 120

Big Diamond Red (C Hernandez) 118

Groovy Deb (R Eramia) 118

Blessed Immaculata (J Theriot) 118

Seventh Race - $47,000, Allowance, 3 yo’s & up Seven And A Half Furlongs

Quietdetermination (J Graham) 120

Major Gain (J Graham) 120

Fatty Langbein (J Jacinto) 118

Fighter (E Da Silva) 118

Kiss My Kriss (J Theriot) 117

Warrior’s Hit (B Williams) 118

At the Pulpit (R Eramia) 118

Wheemaway (I Diego) 120

Purgenality (R Napravnik) 120

Saint Floyd (J Riquelme) 120

Eighth Race - $41,000, Allowance, 2 yo, F (fillies) Six Furlongs

Private Rebel (T Agilar) 119

Guadalupe High (J Theriot) 119

Teez Sparkle (G Steinberg) 114

Joyful Angel (I Diego) 119

Sister City (R Eramia) 119

Tensas Harbor (K Clark) 119

Linnie Laurine (C McMahon) 119

Fantacious (J Jacinto) 119

Mony’slittlegracie (M Guidry) 119

Ninth Race - $75,000, Stakes, 3 yo One Mile

Macho Bull (B Williams) 116

Hero of Order (B Williams) 116

Coalport (J Jacinto) 118

Gung Ho (R Napravnik) 116

Aldous Snow (E Da Silva) 118

Sommer’s Choice (J Melancon) 116

Pure Tactics (C Hernandez) 116

Hammers Terror (J Graham) 118

Quiet Acceleration (I Diego) 116

Adios Nardo (R Eramia) 118

Unlatch (J Theriot) 118

Icon Ike (M Guidry) 116

Tenth Race - $20,000, Claiming $15,000-$12,500, 3 yo’s & up Six Furlongs

Darkness Love (R Eramia) 121

Russian Standart (B Williams) 119

Alumni (J Theriot) 122

Proteus (C McMahon) 119

Chief Counsel (J Graham) 121

Silent Punch (C Hernandez) 116

Soaring Native (J Riquelme) 121

Knight of Honor (J Melancon) 118

Eleventh Race - $39,000, Maiden special weight, 2 yo Five And A Half Furlongs

Pitiful Pickett (K Clark) 120

Big Boys in Town (C Lozada) 120

Hickissippi (C Hernandez) 120

Request a Puck (C McMahon) 120

Indian Road (J Graham) 120

Skinny (M Guidry) 120

Carefully Worded (I Diego) 120

Themistocles (R Eramia) 120

Classy Lulu (J Jacinto) 120

Johnny Handsome (T Agilar) 120

Tallahatchie Luke (J Melancon) 120

Deadly Truth (R Napravnik) 120

Wanna Be Famous (M Guidry) 120

Chief Exe Officer (I Diego) 120