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Author Topic: An interview with: CHARLIE O'CONNOR, ROSIE NAPRAVNIK, JACK WOLF  (Read 941 times)
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« on: November 03, 2012, 06:02:19 PM »

THE MODERATOR:  Okay, now we're all set and ready to chat with the connections of Shanghai Bobby, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, with us Charlie O'Connor, jockey, Rosie Napravnik and on the far right Jack Wolf of Starlight Stables and this is Breeders' Cup taste of success number 2, a part of a shadow back in Lone Star in '04.
   Congratulations to all three of you.  Rosie, no offense to Charlie or Jack, the media will be interested in your story the second woman to win a Breeders' Cup.  We should mention that Blythe Miller won the Breeders' Cup Steeple Chase back at Belmont Park.  But Rosie, your feelings on reaching this status as a female rider?
   ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  People ask me what my goals are, and really this is all part of the goal it to be on this level riding horses for such sections as Starlight Racing and Coolmore Stud and Todd Pletcher, just to find the right horse.
   Shanghai Bobby is a cool horse to be around.  He's talented and that's all part of what my dream has been is to be able to ride this type of athlete and compete in the World Championships, so it couldn't be a better feeling.

   Q.  Jack, they say good things happen to good people.  You have been involved in thoroughbred aftercare.  Have you allowed the thoughts of the first Saturday in May to creep into your head?
   JACK WOLF:  No, they only give us 10 points.  This horse will either be there or not be there and we ought to celebrate what he's doing right now.  Obviously he won the Hopeful Stakes and the Champagne and this race which are three great ones.  And the Rosie rebroke this horse when it looks like he was getting past, so all the credit to her and to the horse.

   Q.  Charlie, since Jack brought it up, watching the race on television, it was not an easy trip, per se, you were pushed wide in the first turn, the fractions were more than honest if not hot, you separated yourself at the top of the stretch and then it looked like you were going to get swallowed up, tell us what happened?
   ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  I did have to use a bit our speed in the first turn, Angel Serpa was pretty aggressive with his horse to get ‑‑ sitting off the leader and unfortunately that's the spot that I wanted.  So I had to use a little bit of our speed in the first turn, but going down the backside couldn't have been in a better spot, was comfortable, confident.        Unfortunately, the horse in the lead was fading sooner than I'd hoped and Bobby gets lost when he's out there by himself.  He came to literally what felt like a walk.  I just couldn't wait until the horses came up next to me because he turns back on like no other horse I've ever felt and he rebroke as soon as they came up to him.  And he knew he was back in the heat of the battle and he ‑‑ he's the most talented horse I've ever ridden, and I still don't think we've seen the best of him.  He's got unlimited talent.

   Q.  Did Mario Gutierrez aboard, he's had enough, did he get by you?
   ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  He was nose and nose with me.  I was looking forward mostly because I knew they were coming and once Bobby saw them that he would kick into gear and he rebreaks so sharply.  It's an unbelievable feeling.

   Q.  Charlie, could you more as a keen eye for a horse as ha been demonstrated time after time.  What was your thinking as you became part of this horse and what are your hopes for the future?
   CHARLIE O'CONNOR:  The reason we bought into him is because we thought he was a good force and the partners and I have a stud farm in Kentucky and we stand the likes of Uncle Mo and Lookin At Lucky, and this is a horse we thought would fit our program.  We though he was a good horse after we won the Champagne, and we're delighted to be involved with Starlight.  Rosie gave the horse a phenomenal ride and we look forward to standing him at stud, hopefully at the end of his three year old career.

   Q.  Shanghai Bobby has ‑‑ does that translated in your opinion in terms of being a stallion?
   CHARLIE O'CONNOR:  He showed, Rosie was forced to go a bit soon and it showed that he has a heart and the horse like that has a very, very big chance of being a successful sire and that's what breeders look for when they're breeding their mares, a gutsy race horse and this horse.
   As Rosie said, we haven't seen the best of him and he did it the hard way today and we're delighted to be involved and it's exciting times.

   Q.  Rosie, hopefully you will be a contender for the Kentucky Derby next year and maybe become the first woman jockey to win the big race in America.
   ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  Hasn't happened yet, but thank you.
   JACK WOLF:  She has the oats.

   Q.  You turned for home and it looked like the race was over at that point and then you took a quick glance to your right, was that an act of anxiety, you thought your horse was beginning to warned and he was not focused?
   ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  He was beginning to warned and I wasn't worried about the horses passing me I was worried about how long it would take him to them to get there so he would get back into gear.  He has so much heart and he turns on automatically and rebreaks.  It's an unbelievable feeling, something that not a lot of horses can do, he is a very athletic horse and like I said, I just ‑‑ I'm excited to see how good he gets, because I don't think anybody knows yet.

   Q.  Rosie, when a horse rebreaks like that, is that all the horse is doing or is there something you can do as a rider to coax that rebreaking?
   ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  Obviously, you know, even when he's a little lost out there I'm trying to encourage him as much as possible but it's the competitive nature that when they see the other horses come up next to them, it's ‑‑ it's the heart that the horse has and Shanghai Bobby is such a race horse, he wants to win, so that's really a lot of it.  Most of it is the horse.

   Q.  Jack, I wonder if you see any significance in the history of Breeders' Cup Juvenile winners and the Kentucky Derby and if you had any misgivings about this race for that reason.
   JACK WOLF:  That's a great question.  Todd convinced me that this was a race we should be in, and then we hooked up with these guys here and it's worked out very well.  We have not had much luck shipping to the west in the past, and obviously we do now, so I'm smart now.

   Q.  Rosie, do you allow yourself to dream of becoming that first female jockey to win the Derby?  Does this make that possibility feel more real to you?
   ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  A horse like this makes it more real, but I was shown firsthand that you're not in the Derby until you're in the gates.  Last year I had a horse withdraw the day before the day of entry, so Jack and I said, there is a lot that happens between now and May.  So it's one race at a time, but as far as talent goes, they've got a real contender.

   Q.  Rosie, before 2012 began you had a big name but 2012 you bust on the national scene, you won several big races, now you won a race in the world's biggest racing stage.  I want to ask you, as you went to the gate what kind of pressure were you under?
           ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  You know what?  I'm really not a person that gets worked up or gets nervous, and riding in the Derby was probably my first taste of that back in 2010, and I almost felt guilty for how much I wasn't nervous.
            It's just ‑‑ it's a factor of just being focused.  Today was really the first test of being on a favorite and a lot weighing on this and I was really ‑‑ I mean, I just get into a focus mode and have the confidence in the horse because I really ‑‑ the first time I sat on this horse was in April, the first two‑year old race of the year, and I turned the horse loose in the post parade, and I was thinking to myself, Todd Pletcher, Starlight Racing, this was April, but I was thinking to myself then, this is a really nice horse, and that was before I broke out of the gate in his first race.
          So I have had the ultimate confidence in this horse since I sat on him and that happened going into the race today being one of the favorites which carries more pressure than when I was riding in the Kentucky Oaks and my horse was 13 to 1.  I thought she should have been the favorite that day but apparently I was missing something.
         But I started riding for Todd in 2008, and he's an excellent horseman, allows me to ride with such great confidence and the way that he interacts with me, he has confidence in me which really makes the whole team work we will together.

   Q.  What was the greatest thing you proved to yourself in this race today?
   ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  That's a really good question.  I guess what I proved to myself the most is that I really have worked hard to get to this stage in my career, and as long as you've got the horse underneath you, you can get the job done.

   Q.  Rosie, they say that good jockeys can follow instructions.  How much instruction did you get from Todd going out there and how much of it was, oh my gosh here I am, and I got to make my own decision?
   ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  I actually was in Todd's office yesterday morning, and Todd doesn't really give a lot of instructions, so I try to pick his brain in a round‑about way to see if he has anything that he really expects.  But he doesn't give much away.
   When we talked yesterday, we did ‑‑ he did actually bring it up and we discussed some tactics, and when I got into the paddock today he completely changed everything.  (Laughter.) But luckily, between the time I was in his office talking to him about it yesterday and by the time I walked into the paddock, I was thinking exactly the same thing that Todd was, and we were right on the same page.  And he said to let him run away from there and be forwardly placed and that's really what I felt was going to be the best trip.
   Once again, I love working with Todd, we're usually right on the same page and have a lot of confidence in each other.  It's just ‑‑ it worked out very well that, you know, our minds were working in the same direction.

   Q.  Rosie, what gave you that sense that the horse could be special before he raced for you?
   ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  I'm not sure what it was.  I think what impressed me a lot about Shanghai Bobby is the fact that he's so athletic, and he's so smart.  I wasn't really congratulating him on his smartness at the quarter pole today but I was at the 16th pole.  He's a really cool horse, he has a personality.  It makes my day every time Todd asks me to come and breeze him in the mornings, and not to mention in the afternoon he's just ‑‑ he's all heart, he's all race horse.  He's exactly what every rider is looking for.

   Q.  What did Todd change between yesterday and today, is there anything specific you can tell us?
   ROSIE NAPRAVNIK:  Well, he was ‑‑ he told me some of the things that he was hearing about who was sending and who was going to sit a little bit, and we were talking about what was actual printed about Baffert's horses, the horse on the rail was going to send and the horse on the outside was going to stalk, and he heard Sadler's horse was going to be aggressive, so we were hoping to get a stalking trip sittin' third outside on the clearing, and when I got to the paddock he said, "We're going to change it, let him run out there and get a good spot," and just basically we wanted to be in control of the race.

   Q.  Mr. Wolf, based on the performance today, do you have any regret at all about selling a percentage of the horse that you did?
   JACK WOLF:  Of course not!  These guys are ‑‑ the way it worked out, these guys have had horses with Todd for a number of years, and it was a natural deal.  They were interested in the horse mainly as a stallion prospect and having the fun of doing this.  No, it's great to have them as partners, and we've already had some fun and we'll have some more fun, hopefully.
   THE MODERATOR:  You certainly had fun today, Charlie O'Connor, Rosie, Jack Wolf of Shanghai Stable, congratulations on a terrific win today in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

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