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SENECA FALLS, N.Y. — Julie Krone, legendary jockey and San Diego County horsewoman who is ready to embark on a chapter of natural horsemanship, will be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame this fall alongside fellow inductees Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic Leader, and Betty Ford, the former first lady.

Krone is one of nine women to be enshrined at an Oct. 12 ceremony in Seneca Falls, the western New York village where the first known women’s rights convention was held. She said the honor caught her completely by surprise.

“When I got the invitation in the mail, I thought maybe they made a mistake,” Krone said with typical self-effacing humor. “To be honored by the Racing Hall of Fame, that’s my peers saying I deserved it. But when the nation puts you alongside women who have done some remarkable things like these women, I’m still in awe over it.”

The Carlsbad horsewoman said the induction was well-timed, in that she is preparing a new chapter in her life of motivational speaking, with horses at the heart.

“I’m getting ready to come out with what I’ve been learning with my horses — Natural Horsemanship,” Krone said. “The timing of all this is just bizarre.”

Born in 1963, Krone recorded more than 3,700 wins, including the 1993 Belmont Stakes, to become the leading female thoroughbred jockey of all time. She retired in 2004.

Today Krone lives in Carlsbad with her husband, Jay Hovdey, an Eclipse Award-winning Daily Racing Form columnist, and their daughter, Lorelei Judith. She’s a member of the Horse Racing Hall of Fame, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and the U.S. Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

In the Women’s Hall, she will join 247 women from a wide spectrum of impressive backgrounds, all of whom made significant contributions to society. Past inductees include sharpshooter Annie Oakley, pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart and first woman astronaut Sally Ride. The list also includes some of the country’s greatest women athletes and competitors like Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, a track and field star and outstanding pro golfer who founded the LPGA and tennis great Billie Jean King.

Krone reportedly has battled depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since ending her Thoroughbred racing career, which included major spills like the one in December 2003 at Hollywood Park that forced retirement after suffering a broken back. From 1981 to 2004 she rode in 21,411 races, winning 3,704 and $90,125,088 in earnings.

Her fellow jockeys lauded her in recent published reports of her Women’s Hall induction.

“Julie Krone is the best female jockey who ever rode,” fellow Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen, the last jockey to win the Triple Crown on Affirmed, was quoted in the San Diego U-T newspaper. “I think a lot of it was her mentality. She was mentally tough in a race. She didn’t give an inch. She fought for her position. She had a great style. She was strong. She was naturally the right size and I think that she rode like guys. You didn’t want to get in her way. You didn’t want to force your way on the inside of her because she made sure you didn’t get through.”

Said Hall of Famer Laffitt Pincay, Jr.: “Julie was one of the guys. She was really tough out there. She could do anything. She was leading rider in many, many places. When you rode against her you didn’t think of her as a woman. She was just another tough rider you had to beat. She was one of the best riders in the country.”

Krone was the first woman to win a Triple Crown race, the Belmont Stakes in 1993 on Colonial Affair, and the first to win a Breeders’ Cup race, the Juvenile Fillies aboard Halfbridled in 2003. That same year she was the first (and still only) woman to win Del Mar’s $1 million Pacific Classic, on Candy Ride for Sid and Jenny Craig and Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally. She is the first and only woman jockey to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated (May 1989) and one of only eight jockeys to ever grace the SI front.

“The transition from athlete to civilian is absolutely traumatizing, devastating,” she told the U-T. “I recently started meditating to help with the transition. Donna Barton Brothers (former jockey and NBC Triple Crown reporter) made the transition smoother and healthier than I did. Donna has been guiding me with the meditation and I’m really having good results with it.”

Krone is practicing her ever-growing talent of Natural Horsemanship, learned early from her mother, Judi, and later from her mentors, Pat and Linda Parelli. She has an ambitious and artistic plan for a performance with another horse, her Thoroughbred, at the Del Mar National Horse Show’s Night of the Horse next year. (See related story on this year’s show, page 76.)

“What a frosting all this is,” Krone said of the National Women’s Hall of Fame induction. “It’s like jet fuel. It’s like I was pedaling a bike, but now I have jet fuel behind me.”

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