Davis grew up in a single parent household forced onto welfare, something that would impact him for the rest of his life. At age 14 Robbie got his first job at Buddy's Pizza in Pocatello, Idaho working as a dish washer and Bus boy.
In 1997, he was honored by Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Long Island for his support of that organization.
During his career, Davis won a number of premier races including the 1986 Washington, D.C. International Stakes, the 1994 Pimlico Special and Canadian International Stakes, as well as the 1998 Wood Memorial Stakes. His best result in two Kentucky Derby starts was a fifth with Mecke in 1995 with whom he also finished fifth in the Preakness Stakes. Of his five mounts in the Belmont Stakes, Davis's best finish came aboard Kingpost in the 1988 running won by Risen Star.
On October 13, 1988, Robbie Davis was involved in a racing accident at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York that claimed the life of friend and fellow jockey, Mike Venezia. Venezia's horse, Mr. Walter K., broke his right front leg on the backstretch; as the horse fell, Venezia jumped and rolled under the hooves of Davis' mount Drums in the Night. Venezia died instantly. The trauma resulted in Davis leaving racing for several years. After returning briefly on a few occasions, he came back full time in 1992. Five years later, he was voted the Mike Venezia Memorial Award which honor a jockey who exemplifies extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship.
A classic car collector, he and his wife own an 80-acre (32 ha) farm in upstate New York, not far from the Saratoga Race Course. Parents of six children, their daughter Jacqueline was one of eleven students in the inaugural class at the North American Racing Academy in Versailles, Kentucky, founded as a jockey training program through the auspices of the Kentucky Community Technical College System.  Jackie Davis won her first career race on November 5, 2008, aboard 64-1 shot Blue Hill Bay at Aqueduct; she has won six races as of March 2009. Her father serves as her agent.
- 1995 Vosburgh Stakes Video at YouTube of Robbie Davis winning the 1995 Vosburgh Stakes aboard Not Surprising