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JUVENILE FILLIES

Halfbridled Gets Full Ride

Krone's expert work overcomes a bad post position in a victory that makes her the first female jockey to win a Breeders' Cup race.

October 26, 2003|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

On her way to the winner's circle Saturday morning, Julie Krone kept pointing to the horse beneath her. It wasn't me, she was saying, it was Halfbridled.

Wrong, said Chris McCarron. It was the inspired pairing of horse and rider that resulted in Halfbridled's winning the $1-million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies by 2 1/2 lengths and making Krone the first female jockey to win a Breeders' Cup race.

Starting from the far outside, the two broke superbly from the gate, took a measure of the opposition on the backstretch and then put the field away once they turned for home.

"It was a very, very smart ride," said Hall of Fame jockey McCarron, now the general manager at Santa Anita. "She did a good job getting her out of the gate and making sure she was forwardly placed. That [No. 14] was a terrible post position, and if she didn't do what she did, she was going to race about six or seven deep all the way around the first turn.

"But, as usual, she rode a brilliant race. But she was well-mounted too."

Halfbridled covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.75. The dark bay filly, owned by Wertheimer Farm of Lexington, Ky., and trained by Richard Mandella, was drawing away at the finish.

She went off as the 2-1 favorite and paid $6.60 for the win.

Ashado, ridden by John Velazquez, finished second, a neck in front of Victory U.S.A. with Jerry Bailey aboard.

Krone was ecstatic after she and Halfbridled had won for the fourth time in as many starts. She also was relieved.

"Oh, yes," she said. "Oh, positively. Even at the half-mile pole, when she kept pulling me, I was like, 'Oh.' And at the three-eighths pole I had to peek back because I didn't want her to move too early because I know that she's aware of what she's supposed to accomplish.

"So when she kept responding, I kept thinking, 'Oh boy, oh boy.'

"Yes, I was very relieved."

The big question before the race had been whether Halfbridled could overcome the No. 14 post position. The answer was quick in coming.

"She leapt out of the gate with such strength," Krone said.

Halfbridled managed to get up among the leaders before the field reached the first turn, and even though she was four wide, that was fine with Mandella.

"I think she's an exceptional filly," he said. "I think she can be four or five wide and still get the job done. She did that today. I was just glad that nobody was in her way or taking up or having something silly happen. We were a little wide and that was the worst of it. And I think that's pretty lucky today."

Halfbridled was in good position on the backstretch and eager to run. So eager, in fact, that Krone had to keep her from going too soon.

"I can honestly say that I did a lot more pulling than I did pushing," she said.

"Turning for home, she put her ears up and ... she was kind of like, 'When are we going to start running?'

"She has a concept of what the stretch is for.... She turned for home and was just holding the horses off ... she kept pulling with this beautiful, tremendous stride.

"She's just one of the best 2-year-olds I've ever sat on in my life."

Added Mandella, whose day was to grow even more exceptional in the races to come: "It's like somebody left a gift on my doorstep."

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Women at Work

Female jockeys in the Breeders' Cup:

*--* Year Name Horse Event Place 1988 Julie Krone Darby Shuffle Juvenile Fillies 2nd 1988 Julie Krone Forty Niner Classic 4th 1988 Julie Krone Dr. Bizzare Juvenile 6th 1989 Julie Krone Dawn Quixote Juvenile 12th 1991 Francine Villanueve Wilderness Song Distaff 7th 1991 Julie Krone Preach Juvenile Fillies 7th 1992 Julie Krone Rubiano Sprint 3rd 1992 Julie Krone Shared Interest Distaff 11th 1994 Julie Krone Link River Distaff 8th 1994 Donna Barton Cat Appeal Juvenile Fillies dnf 1995 Julie Krone Mr. Greeley Sprint 2nd 1995 Donna Barton Hennessy Juvenile 2nd 1995 Julie Krone Peaks and Valleys Classic 6th 1995 Julie Krone Alice Springs Turf 7th 1995 Julie Krone Blushing Jim Juvenile 13th 1996 Julie Krone Dumaani Mile 12th 1996 Julie Krone Jess C's Whirl Sprint 13th 1996 Lisa McFarland Ricks Natural Star Turf 14th 1999 Tracy Hebert Personal First Juvenile 8th 2003 Julie Krone Halfbridled Juvenile Fillies 1st 2003 Julie Krone Siphonizer Juvenile 10th 2003 Julie Krone Funny Cide Classic 9th

*--*

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