Updated on 09/16/2011 9:35AM

Krone back in the saddle again

The cameras turn on Julie Krone come Friday, when she un-retires and rides her first race in 3 1/2 years.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Julie Krone, the world's leading female rider, launches a comeback at Santa Anita on Friday, following a retirement of 3 1/2 years. A member of racing's Hall of Fame, Krone is booked on one mount - Justly Royal, a 2-year-old first-time starter, in Friday's fifth race. The race is run for fillies over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course.

Krone retired in April 1999 with 3,545 wins and purse earnings of $81,335,971. On Oct. 18, she announced that she was returning to racing at the Hollywood Park fall meeting next week, citing a renewed enthusiasm for race riding.

The comeback date was moved forward when mounts became available in the final days of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting. In the last week, Krone has been highly visible at Santa Anita, becoming acquainted or re-acquainted with horsemen and exercising horses.

"I'm bringing more to my riding than I feel I ever have since the late 1980's when I started to have opportunities to ride nice horses," she said on the backstretch at Santa Anita on Wednesday. "I'm more experienced and I have more confidence.

"I made a comparison to a horse. It was like I was digging a hole in my stall and then I had a two-minute lick a few times. I'm ready."

Despite her absence from race riding in recent years, Krone has not been far from racehorses. During the last two summers, she exercised horses regularly for trainer Richard Mandella at the Del Mar meeting. This fall, she exercised horses for trainer Laura de Seroux at San Luis Rey Downs in northern San Diego County. In addition, she kept a small stable of pleasure horses.

On Friday, Krone will ride Justly Royal for Mandella.

On Saturday, Krone is booked to ride three races on the California Cup program. She has the mount on Cee's Elegance in the $150,000 Matron over 1 1/16 miles for trainer Doug O'Neill, and First Draft for trainer Jack Van Berg in the $100,000 Distance Handicap for fillies and mares over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Krone has two mounts in the $150,000 California Cup Distaff on the hillside turf course - Mabel Kent, who is on the also-eligible list, and Yes We Do, who has drawn into the field. Both are trained by Ian Jory.

Krone, 39, will be based in Southern California for the first time in her career, having ridden in the 1980's and 1990's primarily on the East Coast.

Krone is well known for becoming the first female jockey to win a Triple Crown race, aboard Colonial Affair in the 1993 Belmont Stakes.

Along the way, Krone won riding titles at Atlantic City, The Meadowlands, and Monmouth Park. She won major stakes on such well-known horses as Classy Mirage, Lite the Fuse, Maxzene, Mr. Greeley, Peaks and Valleys, and Rubiano.

Krone arrives at a Southern California jockeys' room in a state of transition. While Hall of Fame member Laffit Pincay Jr. remains a constant influence, other prominent members of the roster are currently absent.

Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye is recovering from injuries suffered during the Del Mar meeting and is not expected to resume riding until around Christmas. He has contemplated retiring.

Hall of Famer Gary Stevens is away until Christmas while filming a movie based on the popular Seabiscuit book. Chris McCarron, another Hall of Famer, retired in June.

In mid-October, Krone cited McCarron's retirement as an inspiration for her comeback. McCarron was quoted during the summer as saying he had lost enthusiasm. Krone said she has had the opposite reaction and finally decided to return.

In recent weeks, Krone has emphasized that this is not a short-term comeback.

"I have unlimited expectations," she said. "I enjoy riding and the sport and being around the people again.

"Everything is new. I feel there is a momentum going because it all ended so well. Like Paco Gonzalez told me, 'Why not come back?' "

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