Following on its popular series "10 Hardest Things to do in Sports" last year (hitting a baseball ranked first), USA Today
has undertaken to rank the "10 Toughest Athletes."
In the series that began with Monday's edition of the national newspaper, jockey Julie Krone was featured as the "10th toughest athlete," as determined by the USA Today
The story, entitled "Krone not intimidated by man or beast," led off with trainer John Forbes discussing a day at Monmouth Park in which Krone had been cut on the ear by another rider's whip.
"Krone dutifully posed for a photo before dismounting and storming off to take care of unfinished business," the story said. "In one of many acts through her early years that were aimed at intimidation, a fellow jockey had lashed her ear with his whip. Krone tracked down the offender, sent him sprawling with a shot that bloodied his nose, then returned to the winner's circle with a gentle smile for the trophy presentation. When it is said the 4-10, 105-pounder fought to become the only woman to build a Hall of Fame riding career, take that literally."
In addition to recounting Krone's accomplishments and how she had to overcome obstacles to reach the pinnacle of her sport, the USA Today
article also includes her list of the toughest jockeys she has faced: Bill Shoemaker, Angel Cordero, Steve Cauthen, Chris Antley, and Laffit Pincay.
Other jockeys known for their toughness, according to USA Today
-- Bill Shoemaker -- Battler since he was born weighing 1 pound, 3 ounces.
-- Eddie Arcaro -- Once told counterpart Walter Blum, "You win these races any way you can."
-- Gary Stevens -- Returned to riding last September, three weeks after lung collapsed in accident.
-- Steve Cauthen -- Fearless 18-year-old when he rode Affirmed to the last Triple Crown in 1978.
-- Kathy Kusner -- Pioneer who sued to obtain Maryland riding license in late 1960s. See Story at USA Today.com