American jockey, Robyn Smith (b. circa 1942), was in foster care as a child. She was born Melody Dawn Miller to Constance Miller who was only 17. When Constance became ill, Robyn was put up for adoption by the Oregon Protective Society. She was in the home of prospective adoptive parents Orville L. Smith for a while and renamed Caroline Smith. Constance objected to the adoptive parents and the adoption failed. Robyn was subsequently in and out of foster homes, and because of ill health, she did not graduate high school until she was 19.
She then reconnected with the Orville Smith family and changed her name to Smith. But before long, she had moved to Hollywood and enrolled in an acting workshop. She also began training horses for Bruce Headley in Santa Anita.
Inspired by Kathy Kusner, Smith decided to become a professional jockey and in 1969 she rode in her first race, finishing second. In 1973, two years before she retired, Smith became “the first woman jockey to win a stakes race.”
Robyn Smith married legendary actor Fred Astaire (1899-1987) in 1980. When he died in 1987, Robyn began flying planes and helicopters.