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Robyn Smith
Robyn Smith

bounced around from foster home to foster home before dabbling in the Hollywood acting scene. She left the limelight to pursue riding and by 1969, was a professional jockey. At not quite 5 feet 7 inches, she was tall for the sport, but her slim figure kept her within the weight limits. Instead of hitting the smaller tracks where mounts were more accessible to female riders, Robyn went straight to the top, to New York. By 1972, she was winning regularly and earning the respect of riders and trainers alike. That year she graced the cover of
Sports Illustrated as the first successful woman jockey. She rode for the wealthy Alfred Vanderbilt on both coasts and had a successful career that lasted 10 years with no major injuries. During her rise to fame and fortune, she was introduced to Fred Astaire at Santa Anita Racetrack and later married in 1980. Upon her marriage, she quit riding and spent the next seven years together with Fred until he died of pneumonia in 1987. In 1990, Robyn became a professional Lear Jet pilot and flies to this day while still living in the Astaire home in Beverly Hills.

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