Albarado Keeps Giving Back

I don’t often feature jockeys on this blog, so I figured it was about time when I discovered this sweet story about Robby Albarado while scanning through some old emails I had saved.

Albarado, who as of Nov. 23 has won 4,256 races and amassed earnings of $170,076,795, was recently a special guest at the first grade class at Squires Elementary School in Lexington.

Perhaps best known as the jockey that piloted two-time Horse of the Year Curlin in nearly all of his 11 victories, including the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I), Albarado paid a visit to the class after an invitation from teacher Amanda Woods. 

November 8-12 was National Young Readers Week, and each day, Woods asked local celebrities to read their favorite children’s stories and take questions from the class.

According to a release, Albarado was happy to accommodate the request, bringing along jockey’s equipment--a riding crop, helmet and silks. After reading to the class, he took a number of questions from the students and passed around his equipment. He also gave the children photos and jockey trading cards.

"I was truly honored to be invited to read to the class of first graders yesterday at Squires Elementary School,” said Albarado. “I really enjoyed interacting with the class and was happy that I could be part of it."

Such an appearance is not unusual for Albarado, who frequently gives his time for such requests in Lexington and Louisville. 

A native of Lafayette, La., and now a Louisville resident, he rides regularly at Keeneland and Churchill Downs. He is also the founder of the Robby Albarado Foundation, headquartered in Louisville, which was established to give back to the community by improving and enriching the lives of young people through personal involvement, volunteerism, and financial support.
 
“Robby is unselfish with his time, especially when it comes to helping children,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild, in a statement. “He is involved in the community and is a great ambassador for racing.”

This Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for people in this industry like Albarado, who recently became just the fifth rider in history to reach 900 wins at Churchill Downs, but still finds the time to reach out to children by visiting schools like Squires, and enriches the lives of others through the establishment of his foundation.

What or who are you thankful for this Thanksgiving in our Thoroughbred industry and beyond? I would love to hear your thoughts. Consider giving back like Albarado whenever you can, for it truly is the greatest reward you will receive this season.

30 Comments

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RockHardTen Groupie

Thank you for this!  Robby is truly a great asset to this sport, on and off the track.  

23 Nov 2010 11:12 AM
Susan from VA

Robby is a breath of fresh air - what we need associated with the sport instead of unfortunate jockeys with substance abuse problems.

23 Nov 2010 1:05 PM
LongStoryTB

What a lovely story!  A classy ambassador for his sport!  I am thankful we have someone like him out there.

23 Nov 2010 2:24 PM
Blue Blue Sea

He's a class act guy all the way and a great representative of the sport. Thanks for featuring him.

23 Nov 2010 3:32 PM
Soldier Course

I am 63 years old, and I can still remember certain guest speakers from my primary school days. It may take a while to be realized, but Robby has inspired a new generation of racing fans.  

23 Nov 2010 3:46 PM
Richie

What a nice story to post right before Thanksgiving! Robby is a great rider but just as important a really great person. I'm thankful that we have people in racing like him-without them we might not even have racing anymore.

23 Nov 2010 6:01 PM
Elizabeth

As an elementary school teacher for more years than I will say, I can identify with the excitement of Robby's visit. I think I would be as thrilled as the students to listen to Robby. What a nice person he seems to be! God bless him and his efforts to be a blessing to other people

23 Nov 2010 7:23 PM
Lorri S

I'm in complete agreement with Soldier Course. Those kids will remember Robby and that visit. Robby is a fantastic ambassador for the sport and an all round good guy. Congratulations Robby. People like you don't get the recognition they deserve.

23 Nov 2010 10:24 PM
Bonnie White

Robbie is married to my second cousin Kim. I've not had the honor of meeting this man yet, however, I want to say that I am so impressed with not only his talents as a jockey, but also with his unselfishness with his time that he puts back into his community. I've read many, many articles on him and Kim both, and they are both like this. I'm truly proud and honored to have good people like them in our family.

23 Nov 2010 10:34 PM
Debbie Bernhard

when my daughter was in elementary school my husband and i volunteered for every teacher she had.  we did everything from chaperone trips to reading with kids, especially the ones that needed more practise.  my daughter is now a sophomore in high school and we are still volunteering, now for her marching band.  people like robby actually inspire more people to give back and i applaud him and his efforts.  i have a lot to be thankful for this year.  my daughter had a stroke this past may at 15.  she has made a remarkable recovery and we have become stroke awareness advocates in our community.  for all of you reading this please help me get the word out.  if you don't know the warning signs of a stroke please learn them.  children can and do have strokes.  our daughter is a miracle and i believe that more miracles can and will occur.  if each of you would just tell one more person i will truly be grateful.  thank you to all of you reading this and to robby for all of his great work.  may you all have a blessed holiday season :)

24 Nov 2010 12:14 AM
MTBFan(still)

Fantastic, Robby...there are still good people in racing, despite its bad rap. "Stuff" like this should get out to mainstream media more often. I am grateful for a great year to bring people to racing; Zenyatta, the 'Secretariat' movie, and no major tragedies/"scandals" (excluding Rough Sailing and the Life at Ten debacle). I am grateful for a classy Rachel Alexandra going for a well-deserved retirement.

24 Nov 2010 1:13 AM
Craig

Robby is truely a champion on and off the track who represents the sport of kings to the highest degree.

24 Nov 2010 5:13 AM
Rachel

Love to read this kind of stuff!♥

24 Nov 2010 7:49 AM
breeze10

Thanks for the great information about a VERY GREAT HUMAN BEING!!! I remember another article about Robby(IN A BLOODHORSE) in which I was equally impressed...he gives $$ to the homeless on his way to the track.  We need to thank our Lord for such a wonderful, compassionate, talented yet humble man.  God Bless you, Robby!

P>S> Maybe the fist-fighting morons should take a lesson or two from Robby!

24 Nov 2010 8:44 AM
TBDancer

Yet another "unsung hero" doing good works behind the scenes and without (enough) fanfare. Robby has always been one of my favorite jockeys, and he's been boosted to the top of my list after reading your blog. You're right--it IS a "sweet story." Thank you for sharing it.

24 Nov 2010 9:08 AM
racingheart

It is so nice to hear about a rider who is reaching out to the kids like this. Not just because it shines a bright light on the people involved in this industry but just that it is so special these days to hear that someone cares, really cares about the others in their community.

I thought that the recent news about owner Mike Repole donating part of Uncle Mo's earnings to help retired racehorses was wonderful too. So many horses slipping through the cracks once the industry is done "using" them. My dream someday is to be able to have the land to adopt a few myself. It is my biggest dream.  

I am proud of both of these guys for the very big hearts they are wearing on their sleeves! Many thanks to these wonderful souls.

24 Nov 2010 9:17 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

As a retired educator, I would enjoy knowing which book Robby chose to read to the class.  I always enjoyed reading to my classes. My admiration for Robby grows.

24 Nov 2010 10:03 AM
Frankie Conditions

Robby is to be commended!Children can probably relate so much better to jockeys than any other athletes. Let's face it a 6'5" 360 lb lineman can be pretty intimdating. Kids also naturally love horses so even though they can't comprehend Robbyy's "credentials" he will "touch " them. Racing sorely needs present and future fans.I wish the "old guard' would figure out ways to capture future generations before the sport is dead. thansk to robby it will live another day !

24 Nov 2010 11:07 AM
arlingtonfan

I'm thankful for Zenyatta and for all the racing folks (such as Uncle Mo's owner) who donate money to help retired racehorses.

24 Nov 2010 2:22 PM
Jim H in Tx

I could not agree with Susan from VA. more. WE need people like Robby in the news more. What a bdeath of fresh air. Thank you

24 Nov 2010 6:38 PM
J. Rinaldi

Robby is a great jockey and a fantastic person. He gives so much of himself in so many different areas that I think it is a shame he wasn't nominated for the George Woolf Award.

24 Nov 2010 10:09 PM
Tripper

Thank you Robby...you are giving back to your community and receiving back more than you realize.

25 Nov 2010 1:30 AM
Willow Creek

A true class act; how great is it to see a professional athlete give back so much.

25 Nov 2010 9:41 AM
needler in Virginia

This is TOO easy! I'm thankful that gentlemen like Mr Albarado are alive and well and doing great good things. That's the best of all! I'm thankful I got to see not only both the Dancers, but also Swaps and Needles and Kelso and Forego and Dr Fager and the wonderful John Henry AND Secretariat and Slew and Affirmed and The Bid and Ruffian and Swale and all the others that made my heart soar......from bottom level claimers to Cigar. I'm thankful that I got to see that amazing 2009 with Rachel and Zenyatta in it AND for 2010 filled with Zenyatta's magic all over it.

Whew! I just ran out of things to say....think I'll go re-read the Albarado article. What a classy guy! Thanks both TO and FOR Robby Albarado.

Cheers and safe trips.

25 Nov 2010 11:08 AM
Bellwether

THAT "THE GAME" HAS PEOPLE LIKE HIM & THE WONDER-FULL EXPOSURE!!!...ty...ROBBY...

26 Nov 2010 2:47 AM
Allison

Oh my, I would have just about fallen out of my chair if a jockey came to my elementary school class!

As a youth in NJ, Ron Turcott visited our 4-H Horse Club meeting. He gave me an autograph with a saying that I've never forgotten, and even helped me endure some horrible times recently. (It's on my blog sidebar.)

So a person giving of their time to never knows the effect one may have, or for how long.

That is a great story.

27 Nov 2010 11:15 AM
Allison

sorry- the autograph was:

"Take a deep seat,

Don't look back,

and Ride to Win."

(helped me after my sister's homicide, 2006...also the reason for our adopted OTTB.)

27 Nov 2010 11:23 AM
Hawkeye

Robby is one of the few jockeys that I follow avidly on HRTV or the other channel when they are racing at Keenland.  There I am sitting on the edge of my seat riding along with him.  I like the way he takes care of his mounts and doesn't push them beyond their ability and get hurt.  He had a lot of bad breaks this year with good horses that got injured during training.  I hope this coming year brings him some outstanding horses that make it through the triple crown.  I will still be riding with him each and every race to the finish line win or loose.  Thank you Robby for being the wonderful person you are.

29 Nov 2010 2:47 PM
Deb

Wow!  I wish a jockey would have come to my school. Keep it up for others!  

You never know what a child or young adult will get out of it, but I can tell you....it will be positive!

30 Nov 2010 3:47 PM
Shellie

There just aren't enough good hearted people in the world, like Robby and Kimber. Their hearts are huge! They care and they truly mean it. My life is so much better because they are in it. Love You Robby and Kimber!

02 Jan 2011 3:44 PM

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