When Jockey Julie Krone hangs up her tack later this spring, the curtain will fall on one of horse racing's most spectacular careers. A 4'10½" daredevil, Krone—the top female rider of all time—is a fierce competitor who has won 3,542 races and more than $80 million in purses in her 18 years as a jockey. She was the third-leading rider in the U.S. in 1989 with 368 wins. Four years later she guided Colonial Affair to victory in the Belmont, becoming the only woman to win a Triple Crown race. Last Thursday, Krone announced that she'll race for the last time on April 18 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, unless she gets a ride in next month's Kentucky Derby. "It's not worth the physical torture anymore," says Krone, 35, who took a frightful spill at Saratoga in '93 and was shelved for nine months with a fractured right ankle that required two steel plates and 14 screws to rebuild. She has also broken her back, right kneecap and both hands. "I don't need to get carried out on a stretcher," says the queen of the sport of kings. "I'm leaving with a smile on my face."