At the races

Dunkelberger out at least four weeks

Dunkelberger out at least four weeks

September 03, 2006|by LARRY YANOS

Travis Dunkelberger, the leading rider at Charles Town Races & Slots during the summer meeting, will be sidelined until October with injuries sustained in a paddock mishap Aug. 24 at the West Virginia oval.

The talented 29-year-old rider was injured when his horse in the first race - Sassy Sheri- flipped in the paddock.

"It's very disappointing," Dunkelberger said. "I was having a good year."

Dunkelberger received the prognosis when visiting a doctor this past Monday. He suffered a fractured left leg in addition to bumps and bruises throughout his body.

"Trav was told he will be sidelined 4 to 6 weeks," agent Billy Kennedy said. "He should be ready for the Breeders Classics in October."

Weighed down

The apprenticeship is over for Maryland-based jockey Anna Napravnik.

The nationally ranked 18-year-old jockey lost the "bug" in late August at Laurel Park - a five-pound allowance afforded to an apprentice - and will be tacking on the regular weight from now on as a journeyman rider.


Napravnik, a native of New Jersey, is serving a suspension and is expected to return to action at Laurel Park on Wednesday.

In 2006, she rode primarily at the Maryland racetracks, but also spent time at Delaware Park with occasional visits to Charles Town, Colonial Downs and Penn National.

On Aug. 23, Napravnik ended a very successful campaign as an apprentice rider with three victories, giving the teenager 279 wins as a bug rider with earnings of $5,346,154.

This year, she ranks fifth in the nation, trailing only Julien Leparoux, Ramon Dominguez, Russell Baze and Martin Garcia.

Leparoux and Garcia also are bug riders.

"If there is one word to describe how I feel, satisfied would be it," said Napravnik, who has eclipsed the $4 million mark in earnings for the year. "I've worked hard."

After attending her first two years of high school in New Jersey, Napravnik spent the summer of 2004 with her sister, Jazz, an assistant trainer for Pimlico-based conditioner Holly Robinson. She began working horses for Robinson and Richard Small that summer and decided to stay in Baltimore to pursue a career as a jockey after consulting with her parents.

She won 71 races for $1.3 million in 2005 and this year has established herself as the top rider in the Maryland jockey colony, winning both the Laurel Park winter meet and Pimlico spring riding titles.

Pony tales

Weather permitting, the Charles Races & Slots will conduct a special holiday racing card on Monday. Post time is 4 p.m.

TVG will present live, onsite coverage of the $2 million All-American Futurity on Monday during a special one-hour telecast from 6-7 p.m. The show, which is sponsored by Ford Motor Company and the American Quarter Horse Association, will be simulcast on FSN Prime Ticket, Fox Sports New York and Turner South.

On the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's destruction of the Gulf Coast, the restoration project at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans continues, as does the countdown to the return of racing to the nation's third-oldest thoroughbred racing facility.

Fair Grounds president Randall E. Soth said last week the grandstand restoration is "about 80 percent complete," while the backstretch is "about 60 percent." The grandstand will be completed in time for the start of Fair Grounds' 135th racing season on Thanksgiving Day, while the backstretch work is scheduled for completion in time for the opening of the barn area Nov. 1.

Larry Yanos is sports editor of The Daily Mail. He covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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