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.