Looking for Robby Albarado? You won't find him at home during the week of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). From charity appearances to celebrity events, Albarado, 34, will be out on the town in Louisville, the city whose residents have embraced him as one of their own.
After riding his first winner in 1990 at Evangeline Downs, Albarado steadily improved his career to become a solid presence on the Kentucky and Louisiana riding circuits. Still, his national breakout seasons did not come until 2007 and 2008, when he teamed up with trainer Steve Asmussen as the regular rider for Horse of the Year Curlin. He even went to Dubai, winning the world's richest race—the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I)—in March. Just before the World Cup, he announced his formation of the Robby Albarado Foundation, a non-profit organization that will benefit socially- and economically-challenged individuals in and around the Louisville area.
In spite of his affinity for the city, Albarado is missing a victory in the race that makes Louisville famous. He'll be chasing that win in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) aboard Z Fortune for Asmussen while making his 10th start in the race; his best finish was a third-place effort aboard Steppenwolfer in 2006.
Career wins: 3,722
Born: Sept. 11, 1973, Lafayette, La.
Residence: Louisville, Ky.
Family: wife Kimber; sons Kaden and Kash; daughter Larkin
Favorite food: Cajun
Favorite sport: “Golf—my best score was a 72—and basketball, which I play for fun.”
I can’t live without: “My cell phone.”
Most hated chore: “I don’t do much around the house, to be honest with you. But there’s not much I hate to do.”
The fastest I’ve ever driven was: “140 miles per hour, about five years ago. I was coming back from Keeneland and wanted to see how fast I could go without getting scared.”
If I could trade careers with another professional athlete, I would: “Be Tiger Woods. That’s easy.”
Another rider I admire is: “Martin Brown. He’s 67 years old, as fit as I am, and can ride as many a day as he wants. He rides in Louisiana and I’ve known him my whole career, almost my whole life.”
One thing I wish people knew about jockeys: “We’re very generous athletes. We take time out for our fans and try to accommodate them as much as possible.”
The best part about winning the Derby this year would be: “Dedicating the win to the city of Louisville. The people here have embraced me with the kind of affection I felt only in Louisiana, and I’d be proud to win for them.”