BALTIMORE - Rosie Napravnik's motivation for winning the Preakness has little to do with making history.
With a victory aboard Mylute on Saturday, Napravnik would become the first female jockey to capture the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. More important to her, though, it would serve as a triumphant return to Pimlico Race Course, where she launched her outstanding career.
"You know what? It would be a great accomplishment, but that's not the reason I want to win it, because no other woman has won it before," she said. "I just want to win it for my own sense of accomplishment and for all the people who have been rooting for me since the very beginning. It would be unbelievable to win the race, and I really believe we have a good shot."
Napravnik, 25, finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby on Mylute, the best performance ever by a female rider in the sport's most esteemed event.
"The Derby was a great race," she said. "I mean, he just did everything right. He was a little farther back than I wanted to be, but that's just sort of his running style."
If there's such a thing as home-track advantage, Napravnik will have it in the Preakness. Her first career win came at Pimlico in 2005, aboard her first-ever mount, Ringofdiamonds, just days after finishing her junior year of high school.
One year later, Napravnik swept the rider standings at all four meets at Pimlico.
And now she's running in the Preakness, where she will become the third female rider to have a mount, joining Patti Cooksey (sixth aboard Tajawa in 1985) and Andrea Seefeldt (seventh with Looming in 1994).
"It's always an advantage if you know a track well," Napravnik said.
Last year, Napravnik won 193 races. Along the way, she became only the second female rider to win a Breeders' Cup race and the first woman in the 138-year history of the Kentucky Oaks to reach the winner's circle.