Bobby Zen

It could happen this weekend at Woodbine. But if not, it won’t be that much longer before Emma-Jayne Wilson reaches one of the most significant milestones of her a career. She has $89,920,723 (US) in career earnings, just $206,311 behind Julie Krone, widely recognized as the greatest female rider ever.

Wilson, 41, is a lot like Krone. Neither wanted to be known as good girl jockeys, but just good jockeys, period. But Wilson understands that the upcoming accomplishment would not be recognized if she were not a woman. The leading all-time leader in money earned is John Velazquez, who is still going strong and had amassed $480,922,616 in earnings.

“I don’t want to focus on gender as a big thing in racing,” she said. “But I am well aware of the milestone and the path that has been paved for us to be successful. Learning about these records and seeing them being broke leads to more opportunities for more women to be equal in the game. That’s what make it important for me.”

But how will she feel when she owns the title?

“I’m not sure how I will feel,” Wilson said. “It’s been a steady progression to get there and I’ve known about it for a while. It’s not about besting any aspect of Julie’s career or the records she holds. It’s more about being able to continue on the path she’s paved for us with her achievements. We’re both very strong advocates for equality for women in sports and in particular racing. That milestone of reaching the earnings records means I just get to join her in the accomplishment.”

Wilson, who is from Brampton, Ontario, broke into the business in 2004. She rode her first winner, Ali Olah (Bold and Flashy), in an Aug. 28 race at Fort Erie that year. It didn’t take her long to get going. Winning back-to-back Sovereign Awards as Canada’s top apprentice in 2005 and 2006, she took home an Eclipse Award as the top bug in Northern America in 2006.

Emma-Jayne Wilson | Michael Burns

As so often happens, her numbers went down after she lost her apprentice allowance, but that didn’t change her resolve. She knew that her days of dominating Woodbine wouldn’t last forever, and they didn’t. But she knew she had what it took to be a top five rider and has made that happen. Riding for 20 years she has had only two relatively small injuries. She’s been the steadiest and, perhaps, most reliable member among the Woodbine jockey colony. From 2021 through 2023, she rode 253 winners, 87 one year and 83 in each of the other two years. Steady but not spectacular, she kept compiling numbers, so much so that she kept inching closer to Krone’s record. It’s been all about showing up and doing your job.

“You need the support of the owner and you need the horses to show up on the day. But you also have to stay resilient and stay true to our love of the game,” she said. “There have been ups and downs in my career, injuries, slumps. You have to stay as resilient as you can stay and stay focused on the task at hand. This weekend I will focus on each horse and getting the best out of each one. I won’t be focusing on the record.”

Riding almost exclusively at Woodbine, she picked up the biggest win of her career in the 2007 Queen’s Plate which she won aboard Mike Fox (Giant’s Causeway).

“I am Canadian and Woodbine is my home,” she said. “I grew up with Woodbine 20 minutes from me. I grew up watching the Queen’s Plate. To have that as a feather in my cap is massive. I remember the day when I wrote it down on my list of goals, that I would win the Queen’s Plat. It was a dream.”

Officially, Wilson will break Krone’s record, but to understand the careers both have had you need to dig behind the numbers. Wilson has had 1,896 winners while Krone had 3,704. The only reason Wilson has come anywhere close to Krone’s record is that purses have exploded since 2003, when Krone retired.

That’s among the reasons Wilson doesn’t want to steal the spotlight from Krone, but she’s very happy sharing it.

“To be compared favorably to Julie gives me a chance to be a role model,” she said. “I have twin daughters and they are seven. I am their role model, but I want to be more than that. I want to be a role model for everyone. I went to Saudi Arabia and rode in one of the first International Jockey challenges there. That was an opportunity to just be a female jockey and showcase what I can do and what all female riders can do. It’s an opportunity to show that we, despite our gender, are equal.”

The post Emma Jayne Wilson About To Surpass Krone’s Earning Record appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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