There is no doubt that horse racing as a sport, has been heavily dominated by male jockeys since its beginnings. However, as time passes, the sport advances to a stage where everyone has equal rights for attending high-end competitions.
Throughout the years, we’ve seen many impressive female horse jockeys that managed to accumulate many wins in their careers and some of them even entered the horse racing Hall of Fame.
It is good to see that horse racing is becoming a gender-neutral sport, and thanks to the success of some female jockeys, the barriers were broken and many new upcoming female jockeys are inspired to follow their dreams. Nonetheless, it’s still a long way to go, and if you have paid attention to the major horse races in 2022 you probably did not see many female horse jockeys.
Still, let’s find out who are the most popular female jockeys ever that left their mark on horse racing.
Most Popular Female Jockeys
A native of Benton Harbor, Michigan, Julie Krone was born on July 24, 1963. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Krone grew up showing horses.
After watching 18-year-old Steve Cauthen win the 1978 Triple Crown at the age of 14, she decided to become a jockey.
Her professional racing debut took place at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida on January 30, 1981, when she rode Tiny Star. Her first race was won a month later, and as a result of her success, she became well-known in the horse racing world.
Krone won the Belmont Stakes in 1993 as the first female jockey to do so. She also won notable races at Gulfstream Park, Monmouth Park, The Meadowlands, and Atlantic City Race Course during her career. She won a total of 3,704 starts during her career, making her one of the most successful female jockeys in the United States.
Hayley Turner is the most successful professional female jockey in history, with more than 860 winning rides worldwide and £8,000,000 in career prize money.
With competitive experience on the Flat, she won the Beverly D. Stakes stateside at Arlington Park in 2012 with I’m A Dreamer.
In 2011, Turner won the July Cup, Newmarket’s midsummer highlight, with Dream Ahead, a British Group 1 on the Flat.
During the York Ebor Festival, she also guided Margot Did to victory in the Nunthorpe Stakes.
In addition to winning black-type races in the UK, US, Italy, Germany, and France, Turner is considered a trailblazer in the field.
Since 2008, she has ridden for a number of leading Flat trainers and managed the incredible feat of 100 winners in a season, a feat only twice surpassed since.
The youngest of ten children, Michelle Payne grew up on a farm in Miners Rest, Australia. She is the eighth child to become a jockey, following in her older siblings’ footsteps.
At age 15, Payne raced for the first time on her father’s trained horse Reigning, winning her first race at Ballarat.
She suffered a fractured skull and bruised brain during a race at the age of 18, but amazingly, recovered to continue racing.
Her victory at the Melbourne Cup in 2015 was made even more memorable by the fact that she won with odds of 100-1. Payne has won over 700 races in her career.
So far, Payne has trained over 30 winners. She is the only dual trainer/jockey license holder in Victoria.
A year later, Payne won the Chairman’s Award and was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame for the first time. She was also given the Don Award at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame awards that same year. She was the first female jockey to get such accomplishments.
A Longines lady award was given to Payne in 2017 and she received a Medal of the Order at Australia Day Honors in 2021.
No active jockey has had more success under National Hunt rules than Rachael Blackmore, who has over 300 winning rides across all competitions.
With a record of ten victories at the Grade 1 level, she is already the most successful female jump jockey in the world.
Having been the stable jockey for trainer Henry De Bromhead, she has ridden some of the best National Hunt racehorses in Ireland of recent times, which has contributed to her substantial earnings.
A number of Blackmore’s equine partnerships have been successful, including Honeysuckle, Minella Indo, and Notebook. All are still in training and can provide her with even more success in the future.
So far, Blackmore has won three races at the Cheltenham Festival.