Krone breaks ankle in Saratoga finale

August 31, 1993|By Joseph Durso | Joseph Durso,New York Times

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Julie Krone suffered multiple fractures of the right ankle yesterday during a violent spill on the final day of Saratoga's racing season and was not expected to ride again for the rest of this year and possibly longer.

The jockey, 30, a tiny dynamo who has won riding titles at Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, Atlantic City and the Meadowlands, also suffered severe cuts and bruises on her left elbow. She underwent surgery at Saratoga Hospital to stabilize the ankle joint and will undergo more surgery in New York City to repair the fracture.

Krone was injured in the third race on the last day of the five-week season at Saratoga Race Course, a season that reached record levels of attendance and betting and saw the rise of new standout horses.

Meanwhile, Mike Smith won the riding title, beating Krone by four races, 40 to 36. And Bill Mott trained the most winners, 12, edging Leo O'Brien by one.

But the festive mood of closing day at the 126-year-old country track was darkened by the injury to Krone, the 4-foot-10, 100-pounder who has become the most successful female jockey in racing history and a national star. In June, she became the first woman to win a Triple Crown race when she captured the Belmont Stakes aboard Colonial Affair.

It was her second spill of the season here, and the worst she had suffered since she fractured her left arm four years ago at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. After that accident, she needed eight months to recuperate before resuming her career with seven aluminum screws and a metal plate in her forearm.

She tumbled this time while riding the filly Seattle Way as they were rounding the turn into the homestretch on the outer grass course. Another filly crossed into their path, and Seattle Way clipped her heels and buckled, flinging Krone to the ground. Seattle Way then regained her balance, but lurched to the left and collided with Holly North, turning her into the hedge and throwing Jean-Luc Samyn onto the turf.

Dr. James Gallagher, the surgeon who performed the initial surgery, reported later: "She suffered a severely fractured right ankle, with fractures of both the tibia and fibula involving the ankle joint. She also has severe contusions and lacerations of the left elbow."

Neither he nor racing officials here would speculate on the damage to Krone's career. But she seemed certain to miss several months, with the likelihood that she would not return to racing before early next year.

The injury overshadowed the booming business report issued as the curtain fell at Saratoga. On-track attendance rose by 3 percent and on-track betting by 8.7 percent, while the total betting handle at simulcast sites across the state soared by 9.2 percent.

During the 30 days of racing here, attendance averaged 26,176 at Saratoga and 7,145 at Aqueduct in Queens, where the upstate races were relayed by television. More than $3.7 million a day was bet at Saratoga, and more than $112 million for the five weeks. And the Saratoga races generated $322 million in bets on Saratoga races both at the track and elsewhere.

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