The Daily Racing Blog has been remiss by not profiling some of the leading women in the sport of horse racing. We correct that today by featuring one the most successful jockeys of the modern era, male or female.
When asked about her perseverance to gain entry into a work force dominated by men, Julie Krone once said; “If the stable gate is locked, climb the fence.”
She was born on July 24, 1963 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. During her career she won 17 percent of her races (3,704 of 21,411) and rode horses earning more than $90 million dollars. Along the way she set or tied numerous records — some for female jockeys, others regardless of gender.
In 1987, Krone became the first woman to win a riding title at a major track, topping the standings at Monmouth Park, New Jersey. Racing primarily at east coast tracks she continued to rank among the best and became a fan favorite.
In 1993, Krone became the first woman to win a Triple Crown race when she piloted COLONIAL AFFAIR to victory in the Belmont Stakes. Later that year, she matched Angel Cordero, Jr. and Ron Turcotte for the Saratoga one-day record of five wins (since broken by Johnny Velazquez).
Krone’s other achievements include winning 12 of 16 races in a three-day period and two five-win days at the Fair Grounds in her final season. She also became the first woman to win a Breeders’ Cup race in 2003 when she won the Juvenile Fillies aboard HALFBRIDLED.
Major stakes wins by Krone include the Belmont Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Arlington Classic, Delaware Handicap, Fountain of Youth, Diana Handicap, Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap, Man o’ War Stakes, Woodbine Mile, Del Mar Futurity, and Hollywood Derby.
In February of 1999, Krone became the first female jockey to win 3,500 races before retiring that April and moving on to a career in broadcasting. Krone resumed riding in 2002 before retiring for good in 2004.
Krone wrote an autobiography, Riding for My Life, which also serves as the basis for an upcoming film on her life, “The Boys’ Club,” which will be directed by award-winning filmmaker Katherine Brooks.
Julie Krone was the first woman to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2000. To date she is still the only female with a plaque on the wall there.