Michael Blowen, founder and president of renowned Thoroughbred retirement charity Old Friends, announced this week that Rosie Napravnik, the country’s leading jockey, has agreed to join the Board of Directors of his nonprofit horse charity.
The well-spoken jockey, who appeared two weeks ago on 60 Minutes, and who finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby aboard Mylute, is the perfect addition to the Old Friends team, Blowen says.
“Rosie is a wonderful representative of the sport, and she is one of the many jockeys who adore these horses,” Blowen says, noting that when she’s not competing in G1 races, Napravnik is often out enjoying rides on her own off-track Thoroughbreds.
“Members of our board often find their own way to help” and foster awareness about Old Friends and retired racehorses, Blowen says, noting that board members often make personal appearances at fundraisers and help promote the good work being done at the sprawling Kentucky farm.
“We’re just thrilled to have her,” Blowen adds. “She’s been a great supporter of ours. When we had the Ferdinand’s Ball the day before the Derby, she came with her whole family, with her sister Jazz, her parents and her husband.”
Other world-class jockeys are also not strangers to Old Friends.
On Monday, May 20th, three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel will make a special guest appearance, from 1 to 4 p.m., to meet fans and sign autographs.
Having won more than 5,000 races, including three Kentucky Derbies in four years — in 2007, he won aboard Street Sense; in 2009, he won aboard Mine That Bird and in 2010 he won on Super Saver—Borel will make a stop to say hello to his favorite Old Friends resident, Ready’s Rocket, who was the most winning horse in Churchill Downs history, according to a press release.
The willingness of top-tier jockeys such as Borel and Napravnik to visit Old Friends and participate in its mission reflects how loved the equine athletes are, Blowen says.
“It’s amazing how much they adore these horses, long after they’re making money off them.”