11/10/2012 3:27PM

Churchill Downs: Albarado switching winter base to Gulfstream

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 LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Did they stop making jambalaya down there in New Orleans? What’s with this exodus of Cajun jockeys to south Florida for the winter?

“Pretty funny, huh?” asked Robby Albarado, one of a trio of notable riders who are forsaking their Louisiana homeland and Fair Grounds this winter to ride instead at Gulfstream Park, which starts a four-month meet Dec. 1. “We all have our different reasons for going. I’m just looking to make some inroads with some new people, hopefully pick up a nice 3-year-old.”

Albarado, 39, joins Corey Lanerie and Brian Hernandez Jr. in their move to Florida for the first time. But whereas Lanerie and Hernandez have enjoyed career-high years, Albarado is looking for more of a new start. His widely publicized travails with domestic-abuse charges have helped lead to his worst two years, statistics-wise, since the mid-1990s. His mount earnings last year were $5.8 million, and his 2012 total through Friday stood at $4.3 million, a far cry from the steady eight-figure earnings he had been accustomed to reeling off, most notably $19.3 million in 2007.

Albarado will be represented at Gulfstream by Richard DePass, the former jockey and longtime Kentucky denizen who has worked as an agent on the New York-Florida circuit for about 15 years. DePass recently split up with Rajiv Maragh, who will ride primarily at Aqueduct this winter. DePass also will be representing Gabriel Saez at Gulfstream.

Saez, incidentally, escaped serious injury Friday at Churchill when his mount, Sympathy Act, broke down badly at the quarter pole in a five-furlong allowance on the main track. Sympathy Act, a 4-year-old filly owned by Louisville businessman Jim Shields and partners and trained by Bob Pincins, was euthanized.