Ever since female jockeys began breaking into the limelight by riding in the high-stakes thoroughbred races more than forty years ago, they have achieved many "firsts" and honours. For each of them, one of their highest accomplishments has been maintaining the toughness to survive despite male jockeys' ridicule and mistreatment in what still remains a male-dominated sport. Today there are many more female jockeys on their way up, who have the pioneering women who first broke into the sport to thank.
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Diane Crump was the first female jockey to ride in a parimutual thoroughbred horse race, which she accomplished on February 7, 1969 at Hialeah Park in Florida. The next year she became the first female to ride in the Kentucky Derby. She did not win either race but went on to rack up over 200 wins before she retired in 1985 to be a horse trainer and breeder. Crump endured the resentment, anger and even cheating by men who did not want to share their sport with women.
Denise Boudrot, another female jockey pioneer, began racing in 1972. In 1974, she overcame her nickname "Longshot Lady" by becoming the first woman to win a major meet title when she won at Suffolk Downs. She went on to win over 1,000 races before retiring in 1985. Boudrot died of brain cancer in 2010 at the age of 57. She was inducted into the New England Racing Hall of Fame in 2010.
Julie Krone has a long list of firsts, including being the first female to ride in the Breeder's Cup, the first female to win the Triple Crown, and the first female to win the Belmont Stakes. Krone suffered several serious accidents requiring long recuperations during her career, but battled back each time. In 2000, Krone became the first female to be inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame. When she retired in 2004, she was the top female moneymaker, with over £58 million in earnings.
Rosemary Homeister achieved fame when she became the second highest winning female jockey, behind Julie Krone, in 2009 at Colonial Downs. Homeister became the fifth female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby in 2003.
Anna "Rosie" Napravnik
Anna Napravnik, who is known by her nickname Rosie, is set to be the 6th female jockey to race in the Kentucky Derby as of April, 2011. Napravnik became the first female jockey to win a graded stakes at the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap in 2010.
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