If Robby Albarado's luck holds, Jake Delhomme and the Carolina Panthers will upset the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII on Sunday.
Albarado is the winner of the 2004 George Woolf Award and was the regular rider of the retired Mineshaft, who was named Horse of the Year at Monday's Eclipse Awards dinner in Florida.
Turns out Albarado and the Panthers' starting quarterback, Jake Delhomme, are good buddies.
"He grew up not far from my house when we were kids in Louisiana," Albarado said. "His family owned horses then and he does now, and we used to get together on his farm and became good friends. We're still good friends and he still has a passion for racing."
Albarado said he was "really, really pleased" for Will Farish, Mineshaft's owner, and for Neil Howard, who trained the champion.
Albarado plans to root for Delhomme and the Panthers on Sunday. "My agent, Lenny Pike, throws a big Super Bowl party at his house every year and we're going there to watch it," Albarado said. "With winning the Woolf Award, Mineshaft and now rooting for Jake, it was a great 2003 and a good start to the New Year."