Outstanding Jockeys To Be Honored at New Orleans Hall of Fame Banquet park
Rosie Napravnik and Calvin Borel, two of the top thoroughbred horse-racing jockeys in the world, will be honored at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, selects annual award winners in a variety of categories, in addition to selecting each year's Hall of Fame class and Amateur Athletes of the Month. Overall, 26 individuals and two teams will be honored at the banquet. Additional honorees will be announced over the next two weeks.
Napravnik is being recognized as the Professional Athlete of the Year for Greater New Orleans, while Borel is being named the Professional Athlete of the Year for the State of Louisiana.
Napravnik won 125 Fairgrounds races in 2013 to finish as the leading rider at the course for the third straight year. Through June, she has won 154 overall races with total earnings of $6,565,115 in 2013. She rode Mylute to a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, the best-ever finish for a female jockey, and followed that up with a third-place effort in the Preakness. The New Orleans resident then became the first female ever to ride in all of the Triple Crown races, finishing sixth at the Belmont Stakes aboard Unlimited Budget. Only 25 years old, Napravnik won her 1,500th race in 2013 and has been the subject of many national profiles, including one by 60 Minutes.
"I am honored to be recognized by the Allstate Sugar Bowl Greater New Orleans Hall of Fame as their Most Outstanding Professional," Napravnik said. "To be in such great company as Drew Brees, Danny Granger, Chris Paul and Peyton Manning is humbling and such a great honor. There's no place I'd rather call home than the great city of New Orleans."
Borel claimed career win No. 5,000 March 7 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. Borel, 46, picked up the milestone win aboard Hezunusal in the sixth race, a $15,000 maiden claiming event at six furlongs. A three-time Kentucky Derby winner, Borel becomes the 26th North American jockey with 5,000 wins. Born in St. Martin Parish, La., he reached the highest echelons of racing with a fearless and aggressive riding style. Borel, who finished third in this year's Kentucky Derby aboard Revolutionary, was also elected to the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in April.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee began in 1958 when James Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 12 years, the committee honored local athletes each month. In 1970, the Sugar Bowl stepped in to sponsor and revitalize the committee, leading to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, honoring 10 legends from the Crescent City in its first induction class. While adding the responsibility of selecting Hall of Famers, the committee has continued to recognize the top amateur athlete in the Greater New Orleans area each month – the honors enter their 55th year in 2013. To be eligible, an athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier bowl games in the country, having hosted 23 national champions, 86 Hall of Fame players, 46 Hall of Fame coaches and 15 Heisman Trophy winners in its 79-year history. The Bowl will host the 80th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic on January 2, 2014. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee is involved with various community initiatives through hosting and sponsorships of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors over 13,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2 billion into the local economy in the last decade.