At 4-foot-ten and 100 pounds, Julie Krone is the world's winningest female jockey and the only women ever inducted into thoroughbred racing's Hall of Fame. Riding for 18 years, she won 3,545 races and more than $81 million dollars in prize money.
Born on July 24, 1963, Krone was raised on a farm in Eau Claire, Michigan. Early on, she seemed to have a special relationship with horses, knowing what it took to make them work hard, and understanding how to show them gratitude. Her mother was a former Michigan State equestrian champion, who forged Julie's birth certificate at 15, so she could get a job at Churchill Downs as a groom and exercise rider.
When she was 14, Steve Cauthen won the Triple Crown on Affirmed, and became Julie's hero and her inspiration. It was then she decided to become a jockey. While a Senior in high school, Julie moved to Tampa Bay, Florida to live with her grandparents and to work as an apprentice jockey at Tampa Bay Downs. In February 1981, Julie won her first race, riding Lord Farkle to the winner's circle. In 1987, She became the first woman to win a riding title at a major track and in 1992, the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby. In 1993, she became the first woman to win a Triple Crown event, the Belmont Stakes and she won ESPN's Espy award as '93's top female athlete.
Later that year at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., while riding Seattle Way, Julie took a spill that nearly killed her. Thanks to a two pound flak jacket she was wearing, she suffered only a broken ankle and a cardiac contusion, a bruising of the heart. Then on January 13, 1996, she went down again, this time breaking both hands. For a couple of years, riding became a nightmare for her. Resilient and determined, Julie bounced back and finished second in the jockey standings in 1998 at Monmouth Park, New Jersey.
She retired on April 18, 1999 and has since worked as a horse-racing analyst.