07/13/2012 3:20PM

Albarado's career in jeopardy after assault conviction

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A six-person Jefferson District Court jury in Kentucky on Thursday convicted jockey Robby Albarado of one misdemeanor count of assault, a charge that may put the rider’s immediate career in jeopardy.

The jury voted to fine Albarado $500 for the assault, which occurred five days before this year’s Kentucky Derby. Albarado had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Albarado, 38, was arrested on the Friday before the May 5 Derby, four days after a former girlfriend, Carolina Martinez, alleged the assault occurred, costing him mounts in the Kentucky Oaks and the Derby undercard.

Albarado’s attorney, David Lambertus, declined to comment about the conviction or case on Friday. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Lambertus told jurors that Albarado scuffled with Martinez after she took his cell phone in order to listen to a voice-mail message left by another woman. Lambertus told the jurors that Martinez was the aggressor, the Courier-Journal said.

“He has a right to protect his property,” Lambertus said.

Prosecutors contended that Albarado grabbed Martinez and caused her to fall after she retreated to a bathroom. “He intended to hurt her,” said Assistant County Attorney Susan Ely, according to the Courier-Journal.

Albarado was arrested last year as well on a domestic violence charge involving his then-wife, Kimber Albarado. The charge was dismissed after Albarado pleaded guilty to interfering with a witness, for which Albarado received a suspended sentence.

Following his arrest this year, Albarado was suspended by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission because the arrest violated the terms of an agreement he reached with the commission last year requiring him to avoid any additional criminal charges. A Kentucky judge granted Albarado a temporary restraining order against the commission’s decision on May 25, and Albarado moved his tack to Chicago while he awaits a hearing on his appeal of the suspension.

The conviction charge will likely become a factor as Albarado seeks to have the commission ruling overturned through the appeals process. If Kentucky rescinds his license, it is likely that many other racing jurisdictions will also ban the rider.

Kentucky racing commission officials would not comment specifically on the Thursday conviction when asked about it on Friday.

“The verdict against Mr. Albarado is not currently before the Commission and no decisions have been made about its impact at this time,” said commission spokesperson Dick Brown, in an e-mailed response after officials for the commission did not return phone calls on Friday.

Albarado is also due to face a hearing officer next week to determine whether his latest arrest violated the terms of an agreement he reached with state law-enforcement related to the 2011 domestic-assault allegation. That hearing officer could determine that the conviction requires Albarado to serve jail time as part of his suspended sentence.