Jockey Julie Krone, with her six-year-old daughter Lorelei, check out the form guide after arriving in Ballina.
Jockey Julie Krone, with her six-year-old daughter Lorelei, check out the form guide after arriving in Ballina. Doug Eaton

Rough ride worth it

HER father was against it, her mother went out of her way to make it happen but in the end determination and self belief made Julie Krone the legendary jockey she is today.

But Krone's mission in life and the sport of racing is not yet complete.

The now retired 47-year-old American jockey will be inducted into the Ballina Jockey Club's Lady Jockeys Hall of Fame tomorrow at the Iris Nielsen race day.

Iris Nielsen died as the result of a fall, from Happy Zephyr, in March 1988 at Lismore Turf Club.

Iris rode in 1493 races whipping home 207 winners.

"My dad was so mad that I was going to quit school and become a jockey," Krone explained.

Krone's journey in the sport of kings started as a 15-year-old when she fudged her birth certificate to obtain a licence to ride track work at Churchill Downs.

To be granted a licence jockeys had to be 16 so her mum changed her birth date and the rest is history.

"So as a 15-year-old I got to gallop horses at Churchill Downs," Krone said.

"Back then you didn't put a name in the computer ... I always thought if anybody is going to change your birth certificate your mum can."

Krone, who has ridden 3704 winners, has a mission to enlighten others to do the right thing - because they can, not because they have to.

On-course facilities for women jockeys - worldwide - have been primitive to say the least.

Acceptance of female hoops has been hard fought by the pioneers, Krone and Nielsen to name just two.

"This is forever now, all of it," Krone said.

"I want to be as good as not doing it (riding winners) as I was doing it.

"Sharing (my experiences) with the young jockeys, mentoring feels like a nice fit for me.

"Retirement has leant itself as power, its fuel ... it just keeps fuelling me."

Krone's autobiography Riding for My Life is the basis for an upcoming feature film on her life - The Boys Club.



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