Veteran jockey Mario Pino hits 7000 wins
Veteran journeyman Mario Pino is currently 10th on the list of all-time winningest jockeys based in North America. He’s now joined the nine men ahead of him by notching his 7,000th career victory at Presque Isle Downs on Tuesday aboard Enjoy the Music.
Pino, who turned 60 on Sept. 8, has been a mainstay on the mid-Atlantic circuit for more than four decades. Although he rode his first race on Nov. 4, 1977, at Penn National, it wasn’t until Jan. 16, 1979, that he won for the first time, aboard his 23rd career mount, at the defunct Bowie Racetrack in Maryland.
Pino would go on to win 275 races during the 1979 season. He rode his most winners in a season (297) in 2001, and it wasn’t until 2010 that his season win total dipped below 100.
In 1980 Pino rode his first graded stakes winner, guiding Jamila Kadir to victory in the Gallorette H. (G3) at Pimlico on April 12. Four months later, he won his first Grade 1 aboard Bishop’s Ring in the Delaware Oaks.
Like several others in the top 10, Pino’s success has been achieved almost entirely on lower-profile circuits. But in that respect he’s closer to list-topper Russell Baze, who occasionally plundered a big win outside his Northern California base, than the still-active Perry Ouzts, who at 67 has rarely ventured beyond the Cincinnati-area tracks of Belterra Park (formerly River Downs) and Turfway Park.
The horse most people associate Pino with is Hard Spun, a member of the outstanding three-year-old class of 2007. Pino was aboard for Hard Spun’s victories in the King’s Bishop (G1), Kentucky Cup Classic (G2), Lane’s End (G2), and Lecomte (G3).
Hard Spun finished second to Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and to Curlin in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), and third behind that pair in the Preakness (G1). Hard Spun also finished second in the Haskell Invitational (G1).
Pino has ridden more than 42,000 races and his mounts have earned more than $131 million. His career win percentage has been a commendable 16 percent.