Jockey Robby Albarado, a winner of more than 5,000 races and the regular rider of Hall of Famer Curlin, has decided to retire. The 48-year-old rider will end his career Saturday at Turfway Park, where he has a mount in the seventh race.
The news of his retirement was first reported by Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee.
“It’s time,” Albarado told DRF. “I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while now.”
Trainer Kenny McPeek has assigned a new jockey to Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) runner-up Swiss Skydiver for the Oct. 3 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course. Robby Albarado will have the call on Peter Callahan’s Daredevil filly.
Tyler Gaffalione piloted Swiss Skydiver to victory in the Aug. 15 Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course and was back aboard for the Sept. 4 Oaks at Churchill Downs. McPeek did not confirm Swiss Skydiver for the Preakness until Sept. 26 following the filly’s five-furlong breeze in 1:00 4/5 at the Louisville track. The Daily Racing Form reported that Gaffalione’s agent, Matt Muzikar, arranged mounts for his rider at the Keeneland meet, which opens Oct. 2, while waiting for McPeek to commit Swiss Skydiver to the Preakness.
The final jewel of the 2020 Triple Crown will be the first race Albarado will have on Swiss Skydiver. The jockey won the Preakness in 2007 aboard future Hall of Famer Curlin.
Louisiana native, Robby Albarado, who suffered a fractured wrist in a June 23 spill at Churchill Downs, will resume riding races Aug. 31 on the opening-day card of the Runhappy Meet at Kentucky Downs. Albarado has the mount on the Wayne Catalano-trained Well Spent in the $500,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies. The jockey will ride Sunday at Ellis Park.
Albarado, who was the regular rider of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft and 2007-08 Horse of the Year Curlinsaid, “I’ll be ready this weekend, but I want to make sure I’m really ready for when Churchill Downs starts. The wrist is good. This is the longest I’ve ever been out with an injury; it’s been 10 weeks. And it wasn’t the fracture. I had a fracture, but it healed right up after four weeks. It’s the ligaments in your hand. But for the most part, it feels good.
“I got on a horse at my farm two weeks ago, galloped him a couple of days in a row and said, ‘Man, I’m ready to go to the track and work horses.’ And it felt good. That’s all you need: to get on horses to get ready. It doesn’t matter what you do at the gym or exercise therapy. There’s nothing better than getting on horses.”
Albarado has won 5,185 races and $218 million in purses in a career that began in 1990.