Jockey Robby Albarado was found guilty of fourth-degree assault July 12 in Jefferson District Court after a jury heard evidence about an incident involving a former girlfriend, Carolina Martinez.
The jury recommended that Albarado, 38, pay a $500 fine for wanton endangerment. Albarado had entered a plea of not guilty for the April 30 altercation.
Martinez suffered an injured shoulder and bruises in a scuffle over Albarado's cell phone at the jockey's home. She took three days to contact police, and Albarado was arrested by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department on the morning of May 4, Kentucky Oaks day at Churchill Downs.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission then suspended Albarado due to his violation of a consent agreement that allowed him to hold a racing license in the state as long as he did not incur criminal charges. That agreement was reached in April 2011, after Albarado was charged with wanton endangerment and domestic assault by his then-wife, Kimber Albarado. Those charges were eventually dismissed and the jockey pleaded guilty to attempting to interfere with a witness.
Although a Franklin Circuit Court judge granted a temporary restraining order May 25 that allows Albarado to resume riding until another administrative hearing is held by the KHRC, the jockey's license in the state is at risk.
"Under our rules, having a conviction is separate grounds for the suspension of any licensee," said Michael Davis, deputy general counsel for the KHRC. "He can certainly ask to come before the license review committee again. [Conviction] may have additional implications for him."
Martinez alleged the shoulder injury and bruises occurred when Albarado assaulted her in a struggle over the phone, which she took from him to listen to a voice mail message from another woman.
Defense attorney David Lambertus contended she was injured when they fell on the floor together in the scuffle, and that Albarado was protecting his property when Martinez barged in and grabbed the phone. Lambertus said Martinez played up her injuries and is out for revenge, since she did not immediately go to the hospital and waited to call police. He charged that Martinez did not call police until the day of the Oaks so that Albarado would be unable to race on the sport's biggest weekend.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that Assistant County Attorney Susan Ely called this version of events "unbelievable." The prosecutor argued that while Martinez did take the phone to make a call -- and admitted she listened to a woman's voice mail and then called the woman -- she wasn't trying to take or damage the property when she was assaulted by Albarado.
"He intended to hurt her," the Courier-Journal quoted Ely as saying. The attorney argued Albarado pursued Martinez into a bathroom where she'd fled, then grabbed her and forced her to fall, while pinning her arms, and then got on top of her.
Martinez testified that she used her feet to push the jockey off of her.
Attorneys and a jury heard testimonies from Martinez, orthopedic specialist Dr. Ty Richardson, and Matt O'Keefe, a friend of Albarado's. Martinez's friend, Jana Flowers, also took the stand.
Albarado is due back in court next week to determine whether he violated terms of a conditional release issued for the 2011 case with this incident. His sentence had been conditionally discharged for two years.