Barbara Jo Rubin
Horses—the Sure Cure
The young girl chose her sport as soon as she saw the 1944 movie National Velvet on television. "From that time on," she told the Post, "I set my heart on riding horses." At that time Robert Rubin ran a gas station and kept a pony on the lot to entertain customers' children. Barbara Jo, however, was the main rider, and as she grew, the girl developed into not only an equestrian but also a horse trader, swapping each consecutive pony for a larger equine. A brief stint as a junior rodeo competitor ended when Rubin took a nasty spill; her mother, Maxine, declared calf-roping and bull-riding off-limits.
A winning rider at horse shows during her teen years, Rubin set her sights on something a little more thrill-packed: racing. While she was a taller than average jockey, Rubin was determined to make her way onto the track. With the encouragement of her father, Rubin—a student at Broward Junior College—left school in 1968 to take a job at Miami's Tropical Park racetrack. Paying dues for Rubin meant hours of daily tasks like mucking out stalls and rubbing down horses before she was permitted a twenty-minute workout with a Thoroughbred. By that summer Rubin was galloping horses in New England, earning three dollars per workout. During those early days, the young athlete caught the eye of a man who went on to become a mentor—trainer Bryan Webb.