May 3, 2000, New York Times
Another First for Krone: Hall of Fame
By JOSEPH DURSO © 2000OUISVILLE, Ky., May 2 -- Julie Krone became the first woman elected to racing's Hall of Fame today and, reflecting on a career that generated 3,545 trips to the winner's circle but also adversity on the race track, said she now realized what she had accomplished "as a girl in a man's sport."
The 36-year-old retired jockey was elected along with Neil Drysdale, the trainer of A.P. Indy, the 1992 Horse of the Year, who was scratched from the Kentucky Derby with a foot injury on the morning of the race. But A.P. Indy also won election to the Hall of Fame for contemporary male horses. Drysdale also trains Fusaichi Pegasus, the solid favorite for this year's Derby, which will be run Saturday at Churchill Downs.
The Associated Press
Julie Krone, who retired as a jockey last year after winning 3,545 races in 19 seasons, became the first woman elected to racing's Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Tuesday.
Krone and Drysdale will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 7 at Saratoga along with A.P. Indy and two other horses: Winning Colors, who in 1988 became the third filly to win the Kentucky Derby, and Needles, who won the 1956 Derby and Belmont Stakes.
Drysdale, born in England and based in California, sounded a theme repeated by Krone when he said: "I feel honored and humbled."
But Krone tried to put her pioneering role into perspective, saying: "While you're doing your job, there is no gender factor. Now that I'm retired, though, I'll read about the great horses and think, 'Wow, I rode them.' Adversity doesn't exist while you're doing it. But now, I step back and still have no idea how I did all those things.
"First woman in the Hall of Fame? Yeah, wow. I don't even have to say it. I'm the first girl."
Krone became the most successful female rider in racing history in a career that lasted 19 seasons before she retired last year. She won 17 per cent of her races, including 119 stakes, and was the only female jockey to win a Triple Crown race: the Belmont Stakes in 1993 aboard Colonial Affair. She sustained several injuries when her mounts fell, but left racing chiefly to care for her mother, who died last December.
"My Mom brought me to Churchill Downs when I was 15," she related, wiping tears from her face. "I remember her saying, 'Let's start your career as a jockey.' She had to add a year to my age to get me into the track. I know that I learned how to overcome adversity from her and her relentless spirit. My Mom taught me, if the door is closed, there's always a window."
Krone, a 4-foot-11-inch sprite, now does racing commentary on television "in my squeaky voice," and still rides her pet jumping horse, Peter Rabbit, but has no intention of making a comeback. She won the jockeys' election over Earlie Fires and the late Jack Westrope in voting conducted among 100 racing writers.
Drysdale, a trainer for the last 26 years, has won 100 stakes, including five Breeders' Cup races, and has trained five champions. Through last year, he won 919 races from 4,595 starts and earned purses worth $50 million. He outpolled Richard Mandella and Willard Proctor in the voting.
"I feel like I've just won a race by a nose," he said. "It's not something that, when you start out as a trainer, you even think about. I know that Wayne Lukas was elected to the Hall of Fame last year and then won the Kentucky Derby a few days later. I hope history repeats itself."
He also paid tribute to A.P. Indy, a son of Seattle Slew and grandson of Secretariat, who was bought as a yearling for $2.9 million and then raced for Tomonori Tsuramaki of Tokyo. He won 8 times in 11 starts, capturing the Hollywood Futurity, Santa Anita Derby and Peter Pan. After being scratched from the Kentucky Derby, he was restored to health by Drysdale and won the Belmont Stakes and the Breeders' Cup Classic.
In the voting, he ran against Precisionist and Unbridled.
"A.P. Indy was a remarkable talent," Drysdale said. "And I'm happy that he's into his second career as a stallion."
Winning Colors, who won the voting among contemporary female horses, withstood a challenge from Forty Niner to win the 1988 Kentucky Derby. She had also won the Santa Anita Derby and ran third in the Preakness. She was raced by the late Gene Klein, running 19 times with 8 victories and $1.5 million in earnings. She outscored Mom's Command and Flawlessly in the voting.
Needles, the winning horse of yesteryear, won the Sapling Stakes and the Hopeful at age 2 in 1955, and the Flamingo, Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby at 3. He lost the Preakness to Fabius, but rebounded to win the Belmont and was named 3-year-old champion. He was owned by Jack Dudley and Bonnie Heath, he sired 21 stakes winners and he lived to the age of 31.
He won his Hall of Fame election over Bowl of Flowers and Cougar II.